No. 9 Suns Upset No. 2 Lady Statesmen

Arkansas Tech held Delta State without a made field goal for the final 6:35 of the game as the nationally ninth-ranked Golden Suns defeated the second-ranked Lady Statesmen 56-47 at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday night.

The Golden Suns (18-0 overall, 5-0 GSC) took over sole possession of first place in the GSC West Division with their first win over the Lady Statesmen (15-1, 4-1) since Jan. 29, 2005.

The loss snapped Delta State’s 12-game winning streak over Arkansas Tech in women’s basketball.

A crowd of 3,122 attended Saturday night’s women’s game. It was the second-largest crowd ever to watch the Golden Suns at Tucker Coliseum, and the largest since 3,248 fans attended the NCAA Division II Tournament South Regional championship game betweeen Tech and Central Arkansas in 2003.

Veronica Walker made a layup with 6:35 left to give Delta State a 46-45 lead, but that proved to be the Lady Statesmen’s final successful try from the field.

Tech’s Natalia Santos answered with a layup at the 6:21 mark that put the Suns in front for good at 47-46. Laura Beth Anderson ended a long scoring drought for both teams when she made a short jumper to increase the Suns’ lead to 49-46 with 2:46 remaining.

From there, Arkansas Tech put it away with defense and free throws. Jessica Weatherford made 5-of-6 from the line and Katie Horsman made 2-of-2 over the final 2:46 as the Golden Suns finally ended their frustrations against their arch rival.

Weatherford (photographed) finished with a career-high 24 points. She also grabbed 11 rebounds to secure her second consecutive double-double and make herself a strong candidate for GSC West Division player of the week honors.

Jenny Vining added 15 points and Santos had nine points and 10 rebounds for Arkansas Tech.

Veronica Walker had 28 points and 18 rebounds in a losing effort for Delta State.

The Golden Suns will host Arkansas-Monticello at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.