Coming off its worst shooting performance of the season, Arkansas Tech University needed a spark on Saturday afternoon. Enter Kaley Shipman.
The freshman from Mountain View scored 11 points over the final 3:18 of the first half to propel the Golden Suns to a 91-64 Great American Conference victory over Oklahoma Baptist University at the Noble Complex in Shawnee, Okla.
Shipman finished with a career-high 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the floor as the Golden Suns bounced back from a 30 percent shooting night and a 64-46 loss at Southern Nazarene University on Thursday.
“She’s a basketball player,” said Dave Wilbers, ATU head coach, when asked about Shipman’s performance. “She probably plays more basketball than anyone on our team. When she goes home, she plays a lot. Her court awareness is as good as anyone we’ve ever had. Kaley is excellent against a zone.
“I liked how we passed the basketball today,” continued Wilbers. “Our post players ran the floor and created good transition shots.”
One of those post players, Sarah Heard, had a career-high 15 points. She also collected nine rebounds.
Several of Heard’s six made field goals were set up by Jayana Sanders passes. The senior from Pine Bluff had a career-high 11 assists. She also notched eight points and six rebounds.
Ke’Vonshaye Stackhouse poured in 14 points and Lycia Peevy added 10 points for the Golden Suns (8-4 overall, 5-3 GAC).
Back-to-back baskets by Shipman sparked a 9-0 Arkansas Tech run to close the first quarter. Ryann Goodsell followed with a layup and Sanders buried a 3-pointer to stake the Golden Suns to a 20-11 edge after one period.
Oklahoma Baptist went on an 8-0 run of its own to pull within 24-19 at the 5:12 mark of the second quarter.
Five straight points by Peevy set the stage for Shipman, who knocked down a 3-pointer to complete her 11-point outburst to close the half and send the Golden Suns to halftime with a 43-23 lead.
Arkansas Tech built an insurmountable lead by forcing the Bison to miss eight of their first 10 field goal attempts to begin the second half.
The Golden Suns increased their advantage to 65-30 by the 3:48 mark of the third quarter and cruised to their ninth victory in 12 all-time games against Oklahoma Baptist.
Arkansas Tech shot 52 percent (35-of-68) from the floor and out-rebounded the Bison 47-28.
McKenzie Cooper had a team-high 16 points for Oklahoma Baptist (4-10, 0-8).
The Golden Suns will begin a four-game homestand by hosting Harding University for a 5:30 p.m. GAC contest at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Thursday, Jan. 16.
Tickets ($5 adults/$3 senior citizens and students) will be available at the door. Those with a valid ATU identification card will be admitted free of charge.
Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will provide live coverage.