Harding Women’s Basketball Hosts Arkansas Tech on Thursday

Courtesy Harding University Athletics Department

SEARCY – The Harding women’s basketball team looks for their ninth straight win and looks to remain perfect at home on Thursday as they host Arkansas Tech at 5:30 p.m., in Great American Conference action at the Rhodes Field House.

The Lady Bisons head into the game with an 11-4 overall record and a 7-2 GAC record. Harding is in a four-way tie with East Central, Ouachita Baptist and Arkansas Tech for first place in the GAC standings. 

HU is coming off a 77-59 win over Arkansas-Monticello last Saturday. Harding was led by junior forward Kristen Celsor who had 27 points and 12 rebounds for her third double-double of the season. Sophomore forward Arielle Saunders had 14 points and a season-high 15 rebounds for her fifth double-double. Sophomore guard Shana Holmes had 15 points.

Harding is led on the season by Kristen Celsor who averages 15.1 points per game which ranks sixth in the GAC. Sophomore guard Shana Holmes averages 14.3 points and sophomore forward Arielle Saunders averages 11.1 points. 

During the HU winning streak, the Lady Bisons are holding their opponents to shooting 32.7 percent from the field. Harding has held their opponent to shooting below 31 percent five of the eight games. The Lady Bisons have also outrebounded their opponents 352 (44.0 rpg) to 293 (36.6 rpg).

Harding has jumped on their opponents early this season. HU has led at halftime 11 times and gone on to win 10 times, including the last five games. In the first half in those 11 games HU is shooting 43.5 percent from the field, outscoring their opponents by 105 points (382-277) and is averaging 20.4 rebounds. Harding is also 6-0 in the GAC when leading at halftime. 

Arielle Saunders leads HU on the boards this season averaging 8.5 a game which ranks fourth in the GAC. Kristen Celsor ranks sixth in the GAC (7.8 rpg) and sophomore guard Montana Lewis ranks seventh in the GAC (7.1 rpg). Harding is the only team in the GAC that has two or more players that rank in the top-10 in rebounds.

Harding is 7-0 this season at home and 5-0 in the GAC. At home, the Lady Bisons are shooting 42 percent from the field and averaging 70.7 points per game, 14.9 more than their opponents (55.9). Harding is also averaging 45.1 rebounds. Kristen Celsor is averaging 17.9 points per game at home and is shooting 57.6 percent from the field (49-of-85).

The Lady Bisons rank first in the GAC in scoring defense as they only allow their opponents to score 59.1 points per game.

Arkansas Tech heads into the game with a 10-5 overall record and a 7-2 GAC record. The Golden Suns have won their last three games. ATU’s only GAC losses came against Ouachita Baptist (84-81 OT) and East Central (67-62).

The Golden Suns are coming off a 99-46 win over Southern Arkansas last Saturday. Senior forward Jessica Weatherford led ATU with 18 points.

Arkansas Tech leads the GAC in scoring margin (11.2), field goal percentage (43.3), rebound margin (7.8) and steals (11.7).

Jessica Weatherford leads ATU in scoring and ranks third in the GAC averaging 18.3 points per game. In GAC games this season she is averaging 20.1 points. She also averages 7.9 rebounds. Senior guard Roselis Silva averages 12.7 points. Silva ranks first in the GAC in assists (5.0) and steals (4.9).

Arkansas Tech leads the series 50-3. The two teams split last season as both teams won on the road. HU won in Russellville, Ark., 77-69 and ATU won in Searcy 73-62.

White-out t-shirts will be available for purchase in the Rhodes lobby before the game.

Check out Hardingsports.com for links to the live stats and live video.

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