Main content
Home Archived News The Tradition Continues: Suns Debut Tuesday

The Tradition Continues: Suns Debut Tuesday

One of the most successful women's college basketball programs in the United States will begin its 36th season on Tuesday, Nov. 13, when the Arkansas Tech Golden Suns welcome the Christian Brothers Lady Buccaneers to Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.

One of the most successful women's college basketball programs in the United States will begin its 36th season on Tuesday, Nov. 13, when the Arkansas Tech Golden Suns welcome the Christian Brothers Lady Buccaneers to Tucker Coliseum in Russellville.

Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. Fans can gain admission for $1 by donating a new and unwrapped toy to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign at the door.

Those with a valid Arkansas Tech identification card will be admitted free, but are still encouraged to participate in the Toys for Tots drive.

Arkansas Tech launched its intercollegiate women's basketball program in 1977, and over a span of nearly four decades, the name Golden Suns has become synonymous with excellence on the hardwood.

With an all-time record of 871-227, the Golden Suns rank among the top five programs in NCAA Division II history in victories and winning percentage (.793).

Arkansas Tech won two NAIA national championships in women's basketball (1992 and 1993) and has made three appearances in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight (1999, 2010 and 2011) since changing its national affiliation in 1995. Tech was NCAA Division II national runner-up in 1999, and the Suns have made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances since 1998.

The Golden Suns captured their 22nd regular season conference title last season when they won the inaugural Great American Conference championship.

Arkansas Tech returns two starters --- senior guard Rosie Silva and senior forward Jessica Weatherford --- from a team that finished 22-4 overall during the 2011-12 campaign.

Head coach Dave Wilbers has spent the preseason acclimating 10 newcomers to the Golden Suns way.

"It's been a good preseason with a lot of practices," said Wilbers, who is 128-25 in five seasons at Arkansas Tech. "Our team is really developing and getting to know each other. It's the time of year where we really need to start playing games. We've been battling each other in practice and we've improved, but it's time to start playing someone else."

Arkansas Tech earned a 99-52 exhibition win over Central Baptist College on Saturday.

Weatherford scored a game-high 22 points and the Golden Suns shot 70 percent from the field in the first half on their way to victory.

The Suns used a 39-0 run over a span of 8:22 late in the first half to open up a 60-14 lead. Tech went to halftime with a 64-19 edge and led by as many as 56 points in the second half.

Weatherford was 11-of-18 from the field in 21 minutes of playing time. She also gathered nine rebounds.

Tikeyiah Johnson, a junior transfer from John Logan Community College, scored 14 points for the Golden Suns on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. Cara Neighbors, a Lonoke product who redshirted at Arkansas Tech last season, added 10 points for the Suns.

Tech's Westin Taylor and Caitlyn Spurgeon both had eight points. Taylor is a senior transfer from the University of Central Arkansas, while Spurgeon is a freshman at Arkansas Tech after earning Oklahoma Coaches Association state high school player of the year honors at Vinita High School last season.

"I thought our team played really well in the exhibition," said Wilbers. "Our team took good shots, which was probably the biggest positive. The other thing I really liked was our depth. We were able to bring players off the bench, and there wasn't much drop off. We're still trying to identify our starting five and the other roles on our team, and that's probably going to evolve throughout the season."

Christian Brothers (0-1) dropped a 73-50 decision at Harding University on Saturday. The Lady Buccaneers were led in a losing effort by Breanna Ridgell, who scored 21 points and was 3-of-8 from 3-point range.

CBU is picked to finish seventh in the eight-team Gulf South Conference during the 2012-13 season. Arkansas Tech is picked to finish second in the 11-team Great American Conference this year.

Radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will broadcast Tuesday's game.

Access an Internet stream of the broadcast.

Learn more about Golden Suns basketball.

]]>