Lady Bisons Basketball Team Travels to Southern Nazarene on Thursday

Courtesy Harding University Athletics Department

SEARCY – The Harding women’s basketball team starts a three game road trip on Thursday as they travel to Bethany, Okla., to face Southern Nazarene at 5:30 p.m. The Lady Bisons head into the game with a 12-5 overall record and an 8-3 GAC record.

Harding is 4-4 on the road this season and has won their last three straight. Their last road win came at Southern Arkansas on Jan. 17. HU defeated SAU 91-44. The Lady Bisons last road loss came at Southeastern Oklahoma State on Dec. 12. HU fell 72-60.

When HU met Southern Nazarene in Searcy, the Lady Bisons won 78-64. Harding had five players that finished in double figure scoring, including two that had double-doubles – Sophomore forward Arielle Saunders and sophomore guard Montana Lewis. Saunders led HU with 19 points. East Central was led by Oumoul Thiam who had 26 points, hitting 9-of-19 from the field. The series is tied between the two teams 1-1. The last time Harding had played in Bethany was in 1989. The Lady Bisons fell 89-51. 

Harding is coming off 72-51 win over East Central last Saturday. Harding had four players that finished in double-figures. Junior forward Kristen Celsor led HU with 16 points. Sophomore guard Shana Holmes hit a career-high four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points. Senior guard Deshelle Isaac-Boyce had 12 points and sophomore forward Arielle Saunders captured her seventh double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Montana Lewis also had 10 rebounds for HU. The Lady Bisons hit a season-high 10 3-pointers.

Harding has won nine of their last 10 games with their only loss coming against Arkansas Tech in Searcy 50-43. 

HU is led on the season by Kristen Ceslor who averages 14.8 points, which ranks seventh in the GAC. Shana Holmes ranks tenth in the GAC averaging 13.5 points and Arielle Saunders averages 11.1 points. 

Arielle Saunders leads Harding on the boards averaging 8.9 rebounds per game, which ranks fourth in the GAC. Kristen Celsor ranks sixth in the GAC (7.8 rpg) and sophomore guard Montana Lewis ranks eighth in the GAC (7.1 rpg). 

The Lady Bisons rank first in the GAC in scoring defense as they only allow their opponents to score 58.1 points per game. HU ranks second in the GAC in field goal percentage defense as they only allow their opponents to shoot 35.7 percent. 

Southern Nazarene heads into the game with an 8-9 overall record and a 5-6 GAC record. The Crimson Storm has lost their last two GAC games. SNU fell at Southeastern Oklahoma State 77-67 and at Southwestern Oklahoma State 86-74. Southern Nazarene is 5-3 at home this season and 3-2 in the GAC.

SNU’s Oumoul Thiam ranks first in the GAC in scoring, averaging 21.6 points. Thiam is shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 80.5 percent from the free throw line. She also averages 5.6 free throws a game. Aminata Fall ranks first in the GAC in rebounding, averaging 12.4 a game. She also ranks first in blocked shots (3.1).

SNU ranks first in the GAC in free throw percentage (74.0) and blocks (6.5). The Crimson Storm ranks second in the GAC in 3-point field goals made per game (5.9).


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