With Lane College on the comeback trail and Arkansas Tech University in need of a spark on Wednesday afternoon, the leading scorer in the Great American Conference stepped to the fore.
Freshman Jalei Oglesby scored six points during the final 1:09 of the third quarter to propel the Golden Suns to a 61-48 non-conference victory over the Dragons at J.F. Lane Gymnasium in Jackson, Tenn.
Oglesby, who entered the day averaging 21.2 points per game, got 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to help Arkansas Tech (4-2) improve to 10-0 all-time against Lane.
“She exploded for those six points after the lead had shrunk, and I think everyone on our team knows she is capable of that,” said Dave Wilbers, ATU head coach.
Oglesby scored 11 first-quarter points to lead the Golden Suns to an 18-11 edge after one period.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Ke’Vonshaye Stackhouse to begin the second quarter pushed Arkansas Tech’s advantage into double figures at 24-11.
The Golden Suns scored the final eight points of the first half to open a 36-17 lead at the intermission.
Undeterred, Lane College (0-3) took advantage of a foul-prone ATU defense to climb back into the game during the third period. The Dragons pulled within 39-34 before Oglesby recovered control of the game for the Golden Suns.
The Howe, Okla., product made a layup with 1:09 left in the period, two free throws with 13.8 seconds showing and a layup at the buzzer to help send Arkansas Tech to the final period with a 47-39 lead.
The Golden Suns scored nine of the first 12 points in the fourth quarter to claim a 56-42 margin at the 6:37 mark. Hannah Villines’ 3-pointer with 2:48 remaining pushed the lead to 13 points and sealed the win.
“I thought we played really well in the first half,” said Wilbers. “We executed offensively and had balanced scoring. We were able to play defense without fouling, and we took away their dribble penetration. In the second half, it was all about fouls. I think we committed 13 fouls in the third quarter, and you can’t play basketball that way. It even hurt us offensively because we couldn’t get into any kind of rhythm. But when our team was tested, we responded and had a good finish in a tough place to play.”
Stackhouse notched 10 points for ATU. Kaley Shipman and Brenda da Silva added nine points apiece.
Ra’Keta Shelton scored a team-high 13 points for the Dragons.
The Golden Suns will resume the GAC portion of their schedule Saturday, Dec. 7, with a 1 p.m. contest against the University of Arkansas-Monticello 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 free of charge.
Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will provide live coverage.