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Points Could Be Plentiful for Suns, HSU

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Two of the most potent offenses in all of NCAA Division II women’s basketball will be on display at the Duke Wells Center in Arkadelphia on Saturday. The nationally fourth-ranked Arkansas Tech Golden Suns (11-1) and the Henderson State Lady Reddies (9-3) will tip-off their 68th all-time meeting at 2 p.m. Saturday. The game can be heard on KWKK 100.9 FM and www.athletics.atu.edu. Arkansas Tech enters Saturday averaging 84.7 points per game, which is tops in the Gulf South Conference and the fourth-highest scoring average in NCAA Division II. Henderson State isn’t far behind. The Lady Reddies are second in the GSC and 12th in the nation in scoring at 79.9 points per game. “We probably shoot the 3-pointer a little bit better than (Henderson State) does, but they run the floor as hard as any team I’ve seen this year,” said Arkansas Tech head coach Dave Wilbers. “If we can minimize their layups and force them to play half-court basketball, I think that’s an advantage for us. It could be a high-scoring game. Both teams have several scorers. It should be a fun game.” If an offensive shootout unfolds on Saturday, it will bring back memories of the most recent meeting between the two programs --- a 90-86 Arkansas Tech victory in Arkadelphia on Feb. 11, 2010. Arkansas Tech’s Katie Horsman (photographed) blocked a Henderson State shot with 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, and the Golden Suns made 5-of-6 from the free throw line over the final 41.8 seconds of the extra period to escape the Duke Wells Center with a win. Tech has won the last eight meetings between the two programs and is 57-10 all-time against Henderson State. In order to extend that winning streak to nine in a row over the Lady Reddies, the Golden Suns will have to limit Henderson State’s second-chance scoring opportunities. HSU is tied for the GSC lead in offensive rebounds per game (17.2). “(Henderson State) is hard to block out because they’re so athletic and so quick,” said Wilbers. “One of the keys to the game will be running down some long rebounds. We’ll give up some offensive rebounds because they do a good job of that, but we have to minimize it.” The game could easily come down to which side wins the turnover battle. Arkansas Tech (15.3 steals per game) and Henderson State (14.9 steals per game) both rank among the top 10 teams in NCAA Division II women’s basketball in steals. “We’ll have some turnovers, but so will (Henderson State),” said Wilbers. “They do a good job of taking turnovers and turning them into points on the other end just like we do. We’re the No. 1 team in the country at any level in shooting percentage. I told our team this week that if we can just limit our turnovers we’re probably going to make most of our shots.”

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