Suns' Season Opener Moved to Thursday

Basketball season at Arkansas Tech University will start two days earlier than anticipated.

The nationally fourth-ranked Golden Suns will open their 35th season of intercollegiate women’s basketball by hosting Central Baptist College for a 6:30 p.m. contest at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville on Thursday, Nov. 10.

Tickets will be available at the door. Those with a valid Tech identification card will be admitted free.

The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12, but the search for a new date began when Arkansas Tech secured the privilege of hosting the 2011 Great American Conference Volleyball Tournament on Friday, Nov. 11, and Saturday, Nov. 12.

The NCAA has set Friday, Nov. 11, as the first playing date of the 2011-12 season, but the governing body granted Arkansas Tech a waiver to play its women’s basketball season opener one day earlier than that because of the circumstances.

“We’re excited that the NCAA has allowed us a waiver to move the date of our game with Central Baptist,” said Dave Wilbers, Arkansas Tech head women’s basketball coach, in a news release from the Arkansas Tech Athletics Department. “Our team has been working out hard this preseason, but it is time for us to play against someone other than ourselves.”

The Golden Suns return two starters — All-America forward Natalia Santos and all-conference forward Jessica Weatherford (photographed) — from a team that was 30-3 overall a year ago.

Arkansas Tech won the GSC West Division title, the GSC Tournament championship and the NCAA Division II South Region crown in 2010-11.

The Golden Suns rank among the top three programs in NCAA Division II women’s basketball history in terms of all-time winning percentage (.792) and all-time wins (849).

Click here to learn more about Arkansas Tech women’s basketball.