Photo Courtesy: ATU Athletics
BARTLESVILLE, Okla. (GAC) - Top-seeded Arkansas Tech received stellar efforts from its two First-Team All-Great American Conference performers, Roselis Silva and Jessica Weatherford, to defeat East Central, 81-69, to advance to the title game of the GAC Women's Basketball Championships from Bruin Fieldhouse.
Both scored 21 points in the victory. The two combined to connect on 13-of-21 from the floor and a perfect 15-for-15 from the free-throw line. As a team, Arkansas Tech (22-6) shot 54.0 percent from the floor and hit on 23-of-26 from the free-throw line.
The Golden Suns took control of the game midway through the opening half when they went on a 27-8 run that spanned almost nine minutes. That spurt gave them their largest lead of the night at 37-19. East Central (19-9) managed to close the margin to single-digits by the halftime intermission, but another burst by Arkansas Tech to start the second extended the lead to as large as 17. The Lady Tigers fought their way back into the game and closed to within four at 61-57 before the Golden Suns pulled away over the final minutes.
Weatherford added eight rebounds and Silva, the GAC Defender of the Year, added three steals as Arkansas Tech ran its win streak to 10. She also pulled down seven rebounds and dished out seven assists. Dilan Webster led East Central with 19 points and nine rebounds. She also blocked three shots. Ashley Robison and Alycea Price scored 12 apiece and Erin Walling scored 10.
Sunday's 1 p.m. title game will feature a pair of teams ranked in the top seven in the latest NCAA South Central Region Rankings. Arkansas Tech entered the week rated fifth in the poll. The Golden Suns will square off with Southwestern Oklahoma State, who came in ranked seventh. Arkansas Tech won both regular-season meetings, highlighted by a furious comeback in Weatherford on Feb. 7. The Golden Suns scored the final 17 points in an 82-76 win.