Suns Earn Share of First Place in GAC Standings

Jayana Sanders 12-7-2019
Jayana Sanders

Pressure yields two responses: crack and retreat or adjust and overcome.

Arkansas Tech University’s women’s basketball team proved at the W.T. Watson Athletic Center in Magnolia on Saturday night that it has what it takes to muster the latter of those two responses.

The Golden Suns defeated Southern Arkansas University 92-80 to claim a share of the lead in the Great American Conference standings going into the holiday break.

SAU forced ATU into eight turnovers during the first quarter. As result, the Golden Suns’ lead was a single point (19-18) after 10 minutes.

That was when Arkansas Tech (6-2 overall, 3-1 GAC) adjusted and overcame. The Suns committed just one turnover against the Muleriders’ scrambling, trapping, full-court defense during the second quarter.

That improved performance under pressure allowed Arkansas Tech to stretch its lead to 50-30 at halftime.

The Golden Suns led by as many as 26 points in the third quarter and 75-57 going to the final 10 minutes.

Southern Arkansas pulled within 86-76 with under three minutes to go. Ke’Vonshaye Stackhouse restored order with back-to-back baskets to make it 90-76 at the 1:56 mark, and a Lycia Peevy bucket with 42 seconds left set the final margin.

“I thought our team was really ready to go,” said Dave Wilbers, ATU head coach. “We stayed focused and had the will to win. All of our girls did a good job handling their pressure. Our team has good chemistry.”

Stackhouse finished with a season-high 20 points, while Jayana Sanders matched her season high with 18 points.

Kaley Shipman notched a career-high 17 points, Brenda da Silva contributed 15 points and a season-high 16 rebounds and Jalei Oglesby had 10 points for ATU.

Alyssa Crase and Diamond Morris poured in 17 points apiece for the Muleriders (6-2, 2-2), who saw their three-game winning streak snapped.

The Golden Suns will be idle until Thursday, Jan. 2, when they will host Southeastern Oklahoma State University for a 5:30 p.m. GAC contest at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.

Tickets ($5 adults/$3 students and senior citizens) will be available at the door. Those with a valid ATU identification card will be admitted for free.

Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and will provide live coverage.