Harding Defeats Arch Rivals – Arkansas Tech – To Win GAC Tourney


Both Teams Advance to NCAA Div. II Tournament

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. – Senior forward Arielle Saunders scored 20 points and had 15 rebounds to lead the Harding women’s basketball team to a 68-50 win over Arkansas Tech for its first ever Great American Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday.

The Lady Bisons earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Central Region Tournament held March 13-16.

It is the second straight year, Harding has advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Saunders and sophomore guard A’ndrea Haney were named to the GAC All-Tournament team and freshman forward Sydney Layrock was named Most Valuable Player.

Saunders captured her 19th double-double of the season in the game. It was also her 44 career double-double. She also had four blocks and four assists for the Lady Bisons.

Harding (23-6) trailed 27-24 at the half but went on an 11-2 run in the first five minutes of the second half to lead 37-29 on two big 3-pointers by senior guard Tabitha Haney. The Lady Bisons never relinquished the lead. Arkansas Tech cut the lead to three two times but Harding answered back with a layup each time. In the final five minutes of the game, Harding went on a 20-5 run.

A’ndrea Haney made 13-of-13 free throws and finished with 17 points for Harding. She also had eight assists. Layrock had 14 points and six rebounds for the Lady Bisons.

Harding held Arkansas Tech to shooting 25.7 percent from the field. The Golden Suns had 19 offensive rebounds but the Lady Bisons only allowed them to score six points off those rebounds.

The Harding women’s basketball team will return to the NCAA Div. II Tournament for the second straight season. The Lady Bisons will be playing in the Central Regional in Hays, Kansas, hosted by Fort Hays State.


Harding earned the No. 5 seed in the NCAA II Central Region Tournament and will take on No. 4 seed Wayne State College on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Wayne State (27-5), located in Wayne, Nebraska, earned an at-large bid after falling in the finals of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament.

Arkansas Tech (23-6) was led by Fatima Adams who had 17 points and six rebounds. And despite the conference tournament loss, Arkansas Tech snagged an at-large invitation to the NCAA Div. II Tournament. The Golden Suns are a 7th seed, facing No. 2 Seed Emporia State.

NCAA Div II Women's Basketball Tournament featuring Harding and Arkansas Tech


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