Although falling short in the Great American Conference Championship, the Golden Suns earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament and will face No. 2 seeded Emporia State at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Hays, Kan. Entering the Division II Central Region as the seventh-seed, Tech (23-6) punched its ticket to the tournament with an at-large bid.
A rematch against Harding University in the GAC title game fell in favor of the foe 68-50 on Sunday in Bartlesville, Okla. A 17-point effort by Fatima Adams was not enough to overcome the Lady Bisons, as Harding shot 25 free throws and fouled only nine times. Tech made 7-of-9 free throws and committed 21 fouls. Two of the three referees also officiated the game at Rhodes Field House earlier this season, in which Harding defeated Tech 74-61 in the Golden Suns’ first conference loss of the year.
Anissa Pounds and Danielle Frachisur both fouled out in the 18-point loss, which was a 27-24 Tech lead at the half.
Katrina Hayden’s 3-pointer started the game with a 3-0 Tech lead in the first half, which she later extended to a 11-4 lead with another 3-pointer with 14:52 remaining. A layup by Caroline Eubanks put Tech up 13-4 at the 13:30 mark.
Although Tech’s lead was cut to 20-19 by the 5:40 mark, the Golden Suns remained in control with an 3-pointer by Pounds to round out the half.
It took until the 17:42 mark for Harding to gain a 29-28 point lead over Tech in the second half. A free throw gave the Lady Bisons an eight-point advantage, but Tech cut their lead to 37-35 by 11:01 with a layup by Adams.
A 3-pointer by Fabiana Monte with 5:24 left kept Tech within reach at 48-45, but that was as close as the Golden Suns would get before time expired. Harding went on a 10-1 run to go ahead 58-46 by 2:57. Adams scored the final two Tech baskets with free throws at 1:24 remaining at 60-50.
The Golden Suns arrived to the title game by defeating Henderson State 98-84 in its opening round and Southeastern Oklahoma 68-62 in the semifinals.
In the 14-point win over the Lady Reddies, Adams led scoring with 35 points, followed by Jacinda Myers-Sanders with 18, Pounds with 17 and Hayden with 13.
In the narrow six-point win over the Savage Storm, Adams led scoring with 22 points. Hayden and Monte had 12 points each.