Photo Courtesy: ATU Athletics
BARTLESVILLE, Okla. - Arkansas Tech rallied from a 10-point deficit against Southwestern Oklahoma State to force overtime and eventually claim the 2013 Great American Conference Women's Basketball Championship with a 70-66 victory on Sunday from the Bruin Fieldhouse.
The Golden Suns (23-6) closed regulation with a 12-2 run than spanned the final 5:35. Tournament MVP Jessica Weatherford scored the final six points of regulation and tied the game at 58 on a lay-up with 29 seconds to go. Southwestern Oklahoma State (23-6) drove the ball inside to Elizabeth Lay but she could not connect on a contested lay-up.
Arkansas Tech immediately fell behind in the extra session, but scored the final seven points to claim its third conference tournament title in the last four years.
Weatherford earned the MVP honors as she scored 19 points in the title game despite twice leaving the game with an injured shoulder. She averaged 21.0 points in the three victories. Caroline Eubanks and Roselis Silva also made the All-Tournament team from the Golden Suns.
Eubanks established the Arkansas Tech and GAC Women's Championship single-game rebound record as she pulled down 22, including 15 offensive. As a team, the Golden Suns outrebounded the Lady Bulldogs by 29, 64-35, and they grabbed 30 offensive rebounds. As a result, they scored 23 second-chance points to the Lady Bulldogs six.
The Lady Bulldogs placed Michelle Fisher and SaRaya Oyler on the All-Tournament Team. Ouachita Baptist's Monica Williams, Harding's Kristen Celsor and East Central's Dilan Webster rounded out the squad.
Both teams entered the week ranked in the top seven in the latest NCAA South Central Region Rankings with Arkansas Tech in fifth and SWOSU in seventh. Both will look for at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament during the NCAA Division II selection show. It airs at 9 p.m. CT on NCAA.com.