Nationally fourth-ranked Drury University used a late surge to defeat nationally 19th-ranked Arkansas Tech University 71-64 in non-conference women’s basketball at the O’Reilly Family Event Center in Springfield, Mo., on Tuesday afternoon.
Arkansas Tech (6-2) led 61-54 with 5:18 remaining, but the Lady Panthers (9-0) went on a 17-1 run during the final five minutes to remain undefeated.
“We played hard and took good shots for the first 35 minutes,” said Golden Suns head coach Dave Wilbers. “The last five minutes, we broke out of our offense too much. We had chances, but we missed some close shots. It came down to just a few possessions. This was a high-level opponent. (Drury) is probably the best shooting team I’ve faced in 10 years.”
The Lady Panthers came into the day leading NCAA Division II in field goal percentage this season (52.2 percent). The Golden Suns limited Drury to 41 percent shooting (23-of-56) from the field on Tuesday.
That defensive effort helped Arkansas Tech build a 37-32 lead at halftime and a 57-50 edge at the end of three quarters.
The Suns maintained the lead until the 2:23 mark of the fourth quarter. That was when Drury’s Alice Heinzler drained a 3-pointer to put the Lady Panthers in front for good at 63-62.
Annie Armstrong added a running 10-foot jumper with 46 seconds left to increase the Lady Panthers’ edge to 65-62, and they made 6-of-6 free throw tries over the final 25.9 seconds to seal the win.
Anissa Pounds scored 21 points for Arkansas Tech. She was 5-of-6 from the field, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, and 8-of-8 at the free throw line.
Fatima Adams notched 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Golden Suns. It was the 18th double-double of her Arkansas Tech career.
Heinzler had 16 points and Armstrong finished with 14 points for Drury. Hannah Dressler recorded 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Panthers, who improved to 1-3 all-time against the Golden Suns.
The game was played in front of 2,014 fans, most of which were local elementary school students who attended the game as guests of Drury University.
Arkansas Tech will not play another women’s basketball game until Thursday, Jan. 7, when it will take on Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Great American Conference action at Bloomer Sullivan Arena in Durant, Okla. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will have live coverage.