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Suns Begin Hectic Week on Saturday

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Basketball season might be a marathon, but the nationally fifth-ranked Arkansas Tech Golden Suns are about to face a sprint in their pursuit of the 2010-11 Gulf South Conference West Division title. The Golden Suns (18-2 overall, 7-1 Gulf South Conference) will begin a hectic eight-day stretch of basketball when they visit the Arkansas-Monticello Cotton Blossoms (6-14, 2-6) on Saturday, Feb. 12. Tip-off at Steelman Field House in Monticello is set for 2 p.m. Radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will broadcast the game in the Arkansas River Valley. The broadcast will be streamed over the Internet at www.athletics.atu.edu. Arkansas Tech has won four consecutive games and 14 of its last 15. The Suns are tied with nationally third-ranked Delta State (19-1, 7-1) for first place in the GSC West Division. Ouachita Baptist (15-5, 6-2) is one game off the pace. The team that comes out on top in the GSC West women’s face might be the team that can survive the next week. Inclement weather shook up the GSC West schedule, and as a result teams will play four games over eight days (Saturday-Monday-Thursday-Saturday).  After that, there will be just two games remaining in the regular season. “The biggest challenge of playing four games in eight days will be conditioning,” said Golden Suns head coach Dave Wilbers. “We’ve run our players awfully hard and we’ve lifted weights, but that’s different than game conditioning. The other challenge will be finding a flow offensively. Some teams will get better during these eight days and some probably won’t. Hopefully our team will continue to improve.” Arkansas Tech leads all of NCAA women’s basketball in field goal percentage (.513), and the Golden Suns rank fifth in NCAA Division II in scoring offense (83.0 points per game). Less flashy, but equally important in Arkansas Tech’s hopes of making another deep postseason run, is the Suns’ work on the defensive end of the floor. Arkansas Tech has held 59 consecutive opponents to less than 50 percent field goal shooting. The Suns have limited six of their first eight GSC opponents this season to below 40 percent from the field, including the last four in a row. “One reason why we’ve been able to hold our opponents below 50 percent is because our players are doing a good job with the scouting report and understanding who the shooters are,” said Wilbers. “The second thing is we’re not allowing a lot of offensive rebounds. When you give up offensive rebounds, you give up lay-ups and you put the other team on the free throw line. The thing I like about our team right now is we’re doing a good job regardless of whether we are playing man-to-man or zone.” Saturday will mark the second meeting between the Golden Suns and the UAM Cotton Blossoms this season.

Arkansas Tech defeated Arkansas-Monticello 89-46 at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Jan. 15. Five Golden Suns reached double figures in scoring and UAM was 2-of-27 from 3-point range. After its trip to Monticello, Arkansas Tech will host Christian Brothers on Monday, Feb. 14. Tip-off at Tucker Coliseum is set for 5:30 p.m.

It will be “Project: Feed Arkansas Night” at Tucker Coliseum. Anyone donating one or more non-perishable food items at the door will receive a discount admission of $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens.

The donated items will be given to the Arkansas Rice Depot to help those in need. There will also be a silent auction to benefit the Arkansas Rice Depot.

Admission will be free with a valid Tech identification card.

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