The Golden Suns basketball team lost a heartbreaker 76-65 to the Northern State Wolves in Sioux Falls, South Dakota Friday in the first round of the central region tournament.
The Suns jumped out to a 14-6 lead in the first five minutes. With three minutes left in the first period, Northern State cut Tech’s lead to 19-13 and ATU ended the first quarter leading 21-14. The Golden Suns extended their lead to 28-18 with 8:19 left in the first half after a three-pointer by Gallatin, Tennessee native Cheyenne North. Two minutes later Springdale native Ryan Goodsell hit a jumper to extend Tech’s lead to the biggest of the contest at 36-25.
With 2:44 left in the first half, Northern State cuts the deficit to eight and that was the closest they would get into the first half. Tech went into halftime leading NSU 43-34. Minnesota native Lyrik Williams had 15 first half points, leading everybody in the contest. Tech held Northern State’s Miranda Ristau, NSIC Player of the Year, to nine points and four rebounds with two fouls and also held Jill Conrad, first team NSIC selection, to only four points and three rebounds.
In the second half, NSU went on a 6-3 run to cut Tech’s lead to 46-41 with 6:38 left in the third quarter. Conrad of NSU hits a jumper with 1:14 left in the third and cut ATU’s lead to 56-54. Ozark native Kylie Ladd hit a jumper with 36 seconds left in the third quarter and after three full quarters, the Suns were still leading 58-54.
Alexis Tappe of Northern State hits two free throws with 8:13 left in the game and Tech’s lead was 59-58. With 5:53 left in the game, Ristau converts on an and-one opportunity to give Northern State their first lead of the game 63-61. Northern State ended the game on a 13-4 run to break Tech’s 10 game win streak and end the Golden Suns postseason run.
North finished her Tech career with 11 points, nine blocks, four rebounds and eight assists. Williams ended the game with 17 points and three rebounds. Ladd ended with 11 points, one steal, two assists and five rebounds. Ristau of NSU finished the game with 25 points, 12 rebounds and had two blocks. Conrad had 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Northern State outrebound Tech 48-32.
The Golden Suns finished their year with a 26-4 record overall 19-3 in GAC play. Tech also finished second in the GAC Women’s Basketball Standings and defeated Harding in the GAC championship game for their third GAC conference tournament title in school history.