Bartlesville – There were no upsets on the first day of women’s basketball in the 2014 Great American Conference tournament as all four top seeds advanced.
No. 3 Southwestern 66, No. 6 Henderson State 60
Sarina Sayama had two big baskets midway through the second half to help the Lady Dawgs move on to the second round.
The senior hit a big three-pointer – one of six made from long range on the day – to tie the contest at 48. Chelsea Bates stole the ball moments later and looked ahead for Sayama, who made the layup and SWOSU would not trail again.
Sayama had 20 points overall and most of the three pointers she took were from four or more feet outside the arc.
“When I’m feeling it, I’m really confident in my shot,” Sayama said. “And tonight I was feeling it.”
The game was tightly contested throughout, with HSU owning a 26-24 edge at halftime. SWOSU coach Kelsi Musick made some adjustments at the break to counter the Lady Reddie zone.
“They tried to slow us down today, but I was really proud of our team for facing a little adversity and for grinding it out and getting the win,” Musick said.
“They were clogging it up with that zone and we just weren’t making the outside shots like we wanted.
“We were able to play off of that ‘five out’ with the cuts and to get into the gaps and to create movement. We were just too stale in the first half.”
The outside shooting started to open things up for junior post Kylie Boggess, who put in 18 for SWOSU. Boggess had eight rebounds as well.
Southwestern senior Michelle Fisher recorded a double-double on the day with 11 points and 11 boards.
Henderson State’s Vanessa Pieper also had a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards in the loss.
No. 2 East Central 67, No. 7 Southern Arkansas 57
The second seeded Lady Tigers were tied at the break, 34-34, with the young Lady Muleriders.
But a run the early portion of the second half, highlighted by three-pointers from Ashley Robison, pushed the ECU lead to 10 points midway through the period. East Central kept the lead right around that mark for the remainder of the contest.
Robison logged a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds and said she knew she had to work hard, especially in the second half.
“I was really just in the zone,” Robison said. “It’s my senior year and I’m just going to leave everything on the court.
Emily Holombek earned her first GAC tournament win as the interim head coach of the Lady Tigers and talked about the adjustments made throughout to earn the win.
“We had to play the whole 40 minutes,” Holombek said. “We switched back and forth our zones and really stressed helping off and pinching.
“Some of the rule changes have made it hard to stop drives like they were doing. So a lot of it is helping your teammates, taking two to guard one, and then recovering out.”
Dilan Webster put up a strong 17 points and grabbed six boards in limited time after picking up two fouls early.
Erin Walling and Alycea Price each had 10 points for the Lady Tigers.
East Central will meet Southwestern in the GAC semifinals Saturday at 5:45 at Bruin Field House.
No. 4 Arkansas Tech 84, No. 5 Southeastern 53
The Golden Suns had five players in double figure scoring and shot 62 percent from the field in the first half and opened up a lead the Savage Storm could not cut away.
Southeastern shot only 30 percent in that first half leading to a 22-point deficit at the intermission.
Breana Small-Peppers had a game high 20 points and six rebounds on the night. Shelby Hill put in nine points before exiting early with five fouls.