Thursday, December 9, 2010


RUSSELLVILLE, Arkansas – Arkansas Tech’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams will return to action this Saturday as they travel to Jackson, Tenn., for a non-conference, South Region doubleheader against Lambuth University. The fifth-ranked Golden Suns will open the doubleheader at Pepper Bray Court at 2 p.m. against the Lady Eagles, with the Wonder Boys game against the Eagles to follow at 4 p.m.

The Golden Suns, who are ranked fifth in this week’s third regular season USA Today/ESPN WBCA D-II Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, head into Saturday’s second match-up this season with the Lady Eagles sporting a 6-1 overall record, while Lambuth enters with a 1-5 mark. Tech is playing their first game in a week and is coming off an 80-57 win last Saturday at home against St. Edward’s. The Golden Suns picked up a 107-60 win over the Lady Eagles in Tucker Coliseum on Nov. 20.

“They (Lambuth) have gotten better since we faced them earlier this season but so have we. It will be a good challenge for our team,” Golden Suns Head Coach Dave Wilbers said. “It is a tough place to play at and they’ll be ready to play.”
Tech, who has scored 70 or more points in six of its first seven games this season, including tallying 100 points three times, is led in the early going by junior forward Natalia Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and senior All-America guard Jenny Vining (Marshall, Ark.). Santos is averaging a GSC-best 21.1 points per contest and 6.3 rebounds per game and is shooting 61 percent from the field, while Vining is averaging 18.0 points, 4.1 assists and 2.9 steals per game and is shooting 56 percent from the floor and 53 percent (30-for-57) from the 3-point line. Santos has scored in double figures in all seven games this season and enters Saturday’s game having reached double figures in 23 consecutive games dating to last season and Vining has scored in double figures in six games, including tallying a Tech season-high 27 points in the Golden Suns season opening 80-67 win over St. Gregory’s.

          In addition to Santos and Vining, sophomore forward Jessica Weatherford (Bonnerdale, Ark.) is averaging 10.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game and is shooting 92 percent from the free throw line, while senior guard Laura Beth Anderson (Springdale, Ark.) is averaging 7.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, a team-best 5.7 assists and 2.7 steals per game and she is shooting a GSC-best 96 percent at the free throw line. Anderson is coming off one of her best games as a Golden Sun against St. Edward’s as she scored eight points, pulled down a career-high eight rebounds, dished out a career-high 10 assists and added four steals.

The Lady Eagles, who are 0-3 at home this season, have lost four of their last five games with the only victory being a 66-60 win at Christian Brothers on Nov. 23. Lambuth is led by freshman forward Sarah Collins, who is averaging 18 points and 8.8 rebounds per game and is shooting 41 percent from the field and 44 percent from the 3-point line and junior guard Ashley Franklin, who averages 12.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

Meanwhile, the Wonder Boys enter Saturday’s game with a 5-2 record and are playing its first game since collecting a 102-74 win over Southwestern Christian at Tucker Coliseum last Friday. Lambuth enters the game with a 2-4 record, but the Eagles haven’t played since earning a 79-69 home victory over Southern Arkansas on Nov. 29. It will be the second meeting this season between the two teams as Tech earned an 87-65 win over the Eagles in Russellville on Nov. 20.

 “Lambuth is much improved from when we played them earlier this season at our place,” said first-year Wonder Boys Head Coach Doug Karleskint. “It is a tough place to play at and Coach (Kevin) Burton will have his guys ready to go.”

The Wonder Boys have struggled away from home this season as they are 1-2 on the road with its only win being a 61-58 come-from-behind victory on Nov. 27 at West Alabama. Tech suffered an 87-72 loss at Drury in its first road game of the year and then dropped its most recent road contest (66-65) at West Georgia on a late-game tip-in by the Wolves on Nov. 29.

“We have played three tough road games so far this season, so I think that should hopefully will prepare our team for Saturday’s game,” the Tech coach added.

Tech is led by junior guard Johnie Davis (Canton, Ohio), who is averaging 14.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game and he shooting 48 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free throw line. He has reached double figures in six of Tech’s seven games and enters the weekend having tallied double figures in five straight games. In addition to Davis, sophomore guard Jared Williamson (Russellville, Ark.) is averaging 12.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per, while senior forward senior forward James Causey (Tangipahoa, La.) is averaging 10.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 steals per contest and is 55 percent from the field and 42 percent from long distance.

Lambuth is led by senior guard Antwan Long, who is averaging 14.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game and is shooting 50 percent from the field and 71 percent from the foul line. Additionally, senior forward Shaun Merriweather averages 13.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game and sophomore forward Devance Harris is averaging 12.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game and is shooting 71 percent from the field.

Following Saturday’s action, the two Tech teams will return home to host back-to-back doubleheaders next Thursday and Friday at Tucker Coliseum. On Thursday, Dec. 16, the Golden Suns will host Alabama-Huntsville women at 5:30 p.m., while the Wonder Boys will face the ninth-ranked Alabama-Huntsville men at 7:30 p.m. and then on Friday, Dec. 17, Tech will host North Alabama at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. respectively.

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