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Savage Storm Stuns Suns 84-72

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Southeastern Oklahoma State made 10 3-pointers on its way to an 84-72 upset win over the nationally 11th-ranked Arkansas Tech Golden Suns in the first round of the Great American Conference Tournament at Bruin Fieldhouse in Bartlesville, Okla., on Friday night.

The Savage Storm (11-16) took the lead for good on back-to-back layups by Brooklyn Horton at the 13:31 and 12:49 marks of the second half.

Those baskets were the beginning of a 19-7 Southeastern Oklahoma State run over a span of 5:59. When Bailey Welch made a 3-pointer with 7:32 left, the Savage Storm led 67-56.

The Golden Suns (22-4) got back within 69-62 on a Samanta Ludwig layup with 3:48 remaining, but a 3-pointer by Ashley Hobbs stopped Arkansas Tech's surge. Southeastern Oklahoma State put it away by making 11-of-12 at the free throw line over the final 1:54.

"We just couldn't ever get the momentum," said Golden Suns head coach Dave Wilbers. "We couldn't sustain anything. There were a couple of possessions when we did not guard Horton, and then Whitney Coffey was outstanding. She is a good player who is getting healthier. She's a hard match-up for us."

Coffey, who missed six games due to injury during the regular season conference schedule, led Southeastern Oklahoma State with 21 points. She was 5-of-7 from 3-point range. Welch had 18 points, Nikki Nester netted 14 points, Hobbs finished with 11 points and Haley Schaefer scored 10 points for the Savage Storm.

Natalia Santos paced Arkansas Tech with 22 points and nine rebounds. Rosie Silva contributed 18 points, nine assists, five rebounds and seven steals. Katie Horsman had 12 points.

The Golden Suns, who came into the game leading NCAA Division II in field goal percentage, shot just 12-of-38 (32 percent) from the field in the second half against Southeastern Oklahoma State. Tech was 27-of-71 (38 percent) from the field for the game.

The loss snapped the Golden Suns' 11-game winning streak. The Savage Storm had lost six of its last seven games before its upset win over Arkansas Tech.

Now the Golden Suns must await their fate for the NCAA Division II Tournament. Arkansas Tech was ranked sixth in this week's NCAA Division II South Central Region poll.

Only eight teams will be invited to the NCAA Division II Tournament South Central Regional, which will be played March 9-12 at an on-campus location to be announced.

The selections for the NCAA Tournament will be made on Sunday, March 4.

"I think we deserve it," said Wilbers when asked about his team's prospects for an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. "It's out of our hands now, but it's been out of our hands all year. As a new league with no automatic bid this year, we are looked at as an independent. We are a regular season conference champion. We picked a bad time of year to lose this game. I think we are most definitely one of the eight best teams in our region, but with automatic qualifiers that's not the way it works. I told the team we have to keep hope."

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