Suns’ Stingy Fourth-Quarter Defense Wins the Day

Defense down the stretch did it for Arkansas Tech University on Saturday afternoon.

The Golden Suns held East Central University without a made field goal for the final 6:41 and defeated the Tigers 71-69 at Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.

“I thought our defense was A-plus today,” said Dave Wilbers, ATU head coach. “(ECU) is hard to guard because they have good drivers and they run good offense, but we did a good job of staying in front of them and putting up a wall. The final play was a great example of that.”

After Lycia Peevy made 1-of-2 free throws to give Arkansas Tech (7-3 overall, 4-2 GAC) a 71-69 lead with 8.1 seconds left, ECU’s Madison Rehl drove the length of the floor and attempted a running 6-foot shot from the left side of the lane.

ATU’s Jayana Sanders was with her step-for-step on that drive, and it was Sanders’ defense that forced Rehl’s attempt at a game-tying shot to come up short.

Sanders finished with 16 and nine rebounds. Tech’s Ryann Goodsell matched her career high with 16 points. She also nabbed eight rebounds.

Peevy pitched in a career-high 13 points for the Golden Suns, while Kaley Shipman added 11 points and six rebounds and Sarah Heard had nine points.

Sam Schwab scored a career-high 22 points for the Tigers (3-9, 1-5).

Arkansas Tech, which finished with a 14-4 edge in second-chance points, improved to 12-1 all-time in home games against East Central.

The Golden Suns will visit Southern Nazarene University for a 5:30 p.m. GAC contest at the Sawyer Center in Bethany, Okla., on Thursday, Jan. 9.

Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and will provide live coverage.