Harding sneaks by Ouachita Baptist 60-57 in GAC tournament opener
BARTLESVILLE, Okla. -- Third-ranked ranked Harding hit 21-of-26 free throws in the second half to advance in the Great American Conference Tournament with a 60-57 win against Ouachita Baptist on Friday. The Lady Bisons will play the winner between Arkansas Tech and Southeastern Oklahoma at 8 p.m. Saturday, in the semifinals.
The Lady Bisons improved to 28-1 on the season and Ouachita Baptist ended its season with a 9-18 record.
Freshman guard A'ndrea Haney led Harding, tying a season-high with 17 points. Haney made 12 of 14 field goals which ties for the most made by a Harding player in the GAC Tournament. Arielle Saunders made 12 of 13 in 2012 against Henderson State. Junior guard Shana Holmes finished with 12 points.
In the second half, Harding only made three field goals as they went 3 of 21 from the field and 0 of 5 from behind the 3-point line. The Lady Bisons went nine minutes and 42 seconds without scoring in the second half. Harding had 11 turnovers but forced 12 Ouachita Baptist turnovers. A'ndrea Haney made 5-of-6 free throws in the final 25 seconds to seal the win for Harding.
"The way they battle and the way they are coached, we knew it was going to be a tough basketball game," Harding head coach Tim Kirby said. "I thought we showed a lot of poise at the end of the game. Andi made some huge free throws. We did some things you have to do to close out tough game at the end."
The Lady Tigers outshot the Lady Bisons in the game. Ouachita Baptist shot 41.9 percent from the field (18 of 43) and Harding shot 26.8 percent (15 of 56). The Lady Bisons also shot 3 of 18 from behind the 3-point line (17 percent). Harding made 27 of 33 free throws (82 percent) which is the most the Lady Bisons have made in a GAC Tournament game. Harding made 26 against Henderson State in 2012.
Ouachita Baptist was led by Nashia James who had 15 points. Katherine West had 12 points for the Lady Tigers.
"Every round is exciting." Kirby said. "You have people who don't want to go home. They covered us like they were expecting to beat us. They made some shots down the stretch. Andi was strong with the ball. She has been able to make things happen and she made some great plays today."
Harding outrebounded Ouachita Baptist 40-34.
No. 2 Colorado Mesa 74, Regis 41
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. -- Colorado Mesa outscored Regis 39-19 in the second half and cruised to a 74-41 win against the Rangers. The Mavericks will play for the RMAC Shootout Championship for the second straight season after winning the title a year ago.
Aubry Boehme led all scorers with 24 points and picked up her second double-double of the season adding 10 rebounds. Boehme finished 10-for-13 (77 percent) from the field and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
Colorado Mesa shot 43 percent (26 of 61) from the field while holding Regis to just 27 percent (13 of 48) on the night. The Mavericks out rebounded the Rangers 47-28 on the night with Hannah Pollart grabbing five offensive rebounds.
The Mavericks had 22 assists on the night on 26 made baskets.
The biggest discrepancy came in the turnover category. Regis turned the ball over 19 times on the night which led to 23 Mavericks points while CMU turned it over 10 times for only seven Ranger points.
Sharaya Selsor finished with 20 points and Christen Lopez added 11 points.
Regis was led by senior Tae'lor Purdy who had 16 points and 10 rebounds.