Early Deficit Too Much For Suns to Overcome

Nationally fifth-ranked Arkansas Tech fell behind by 21 points midway through the first half and could not come all the way back as nationally 12th-ranked Delta State defeated the Golden Suns 71-61 at Walter Sillers Coliseum in Cleveland, Miss., on Saturday.

The Delta State win forges a tie between Tech and DSU for first place in the GSC West Division with two regular season games remaining.

The Lady Statesmen (21-2 overall, 10-2 Gulf South Conference) made 13-of-20 from the field over the first 11-plus minutes while building a 33-12 lead with 8:44 to go before halftime.

The Golden Suns (23-2, 10-2) came back to get as close as 47-41 with 14:18 left in the second half, but Bug Cooper scored all 12 of her points in the final 10 minutes to hold off the Arkansas Tech comeback bid.

Delta State out-rebounded the Suns 41-25, and the Lady Statesmen finished with a 19-4 advantage in second-chance points.

Veronica Walker had 23 points and 15 rebounds for the Lady Statesmen. Jessica Collins and Shameka Russell added 12 points apiece for DSU.

Cooper had nine assists, the fifth of which made the junior from Indianola, Miss., the GSC all-time career leader in assists.

Tech’s Natalia Santos had 20 points and six rebounds. Laura Beth Anderson (photographed) had 12 points and seven assists. Jenny Vining netted 11 points.

The Suns will visit Arkansas-Monticello for a 5:30 p.m. game on Thursday.