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Suns Hope to Add to Home Winning Streak

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Nationally sixth-ranked Arkansas Tech will put its 22-game women’s basketball home winning streak on the line against peer NCAA Division II opponent St. Edward’s University at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Saturday, Dec. 4.  Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. The general public can gain admission for $1 by donating a new and unwrapped toy at the door. The Arkansas Tech Department of Public Safety will accept the donations as part of its Toys for Tots drive. Admission will be free with a valid Tech identification card.

Click here to access live video of the game. The Golden Suns (5-1) have not lost at Tucker Coliseum since Feb. 21, 2009. Their 22-game winning streak under the dome is the fifth-longest home winning streak in the 34-year history of intercollegiate women’s basketball at Arkansas Tech. St. Edward’s (5-3) will pose the greatest threat to that streak so far this season. The Hilltoppers already own NCAA Division II in-region wins over Midwestern State, Abilene Christian and Incarnate Word. Haley Tidwell, a 5-foot-10 senior forward, is St. Edward’s top player. She leads the Hilltoppers in scoring (13.0 points per game) and steals (19). Tidwell was St. Edward’s leading scorer in 2007-08 with a 10.1 points per game average, but she only played in eight games in 2008-09 and she missed the entire 2009-10 season due to injury. “(Tidwell) will be one of the best shooting guards we play against all season,” said Arkansas Tech head coach Dave Wilbers. “She has a lot of range on her shot and she draws a lot of fouls. She could probably average over 20 points per game, but she is an excellent passer and she shares the basketball. She’ll be a hard match-up for us.” Wilbers improved to 81-19 in four seasons as Tech’s head coach with a 66-56 Golden Suns’ victory at West Georgia on Monday. His record after 100 games compares favorably with the coaching legends of Arkansas Tech women’s basketball past --- Jim Yeager, who won 74 of his first 100 games; Jim Dickerson, who started with 76 wins in his first 100 contests; and Joe Foley, who opened his tenure with 91 wins in his first 100 games. Natalia Santos leads the 2010-11 Golden Suns in scoring with a 20.3 points per game average. The 6-foot-2 junior forward ranks second in the Gulf South Conference in scoring and third in the league in field goal percentage (.602). Senior guard Jenny Vining (18.5 points per game) and sophomore forward Jessica Weatherford (11.3 points per game) also average double figures in scoring for Arkansas Tech. “We’ve done a good job in practice, and I think we’ve really improved over the last week,” said Wilbers. “St. Edward’s is well-tested. They’ve been on the road, so it will be an outstanding game. We’ll have to play well to get the win.” Russellville radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will broadcast Saturday’s contest. Live video and live audio streams will be available at www.athletics.atu.edu.

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