ECU women take top spot in GAC

- The East Central University women’s basketball team picked up their seventh road win of the season, with a 74-59 win over Southern Arkansas at the Watson Athletic Center that gave them sole possession of first place in the Great American Conference standings.

The Lady Tigers (16-4, 11-3 GAC) were led by junior Alycea Price, who tallied a career-best 16 points and added four rebounds. Sophomore Taylor Fischer was a catalyst in the first half, going 4-of-5 from beyond the arc for a season-best 12 points. Sophomore Dilan Webster and senior Kodi Morrison each added 11 points, while junior Ashley Robison garnered a career-high 16 rebounds.

The teams started the first half slowly, with ECU scoring two points on free-throws and SAU adding a shot from the floor in the first minute. Neither team scored for the next minute and it was the Lady Tigers that got the scoring going with a 13-2 run over the next 3:30 to take a 15-4 lead with 13:15 left to play. ECU kept the lead in double digits for the rest of the half and went into the locker room with a 40-23 advantage.

The second half was a much closer battle, with the Lady Muleriders (0-19, 0-14 GAC) out-scoring ECU 34-36 in the second half. The Lady Tigers lead by at least 10 for the entire stanza, with SAU cutting a 20-point lead to 10 in the first six minutes of the game with an 8-2 run. However, the Lady Tigers countered with a 7-2 run and never let the Lady Muleriders get closer than 10 points the rest of the game on their way to a 74-59 win.

“I feel like we played well in racing out to a 17-point lead in the first half,” said head coach Kent Franz. “We then hit a three right away in the second, but then I feel like we coasted the rest of the half and I was disappointed in that. I am happy that we came away with the win because road wins are hard to come by in this conference, but we will have to play a full 40 minutes from now on if we want to win.”

While ECU did not tally a shooting percentage of over .500 for the second time this season against SAU, the Lady Tigers did hit 41.9% (26-of-62) of their overall shots and 46.7% (7-of-15) of the triples they attempted. ECU also held the Lady Muleriders to a 32.3% (21-of-65) mark overall and 18.8% (3-of-16) from beyond the arc.

The Lady Tigers will finish out a two-game trip in the state of Arkansas, Saturday, Feb. 9 when they battle with Arkansas-Monticello at 2 p.m. in Steelman Fieldhouse.

Tonight’s win and a loss by Southwestern Oklahoma State pushed ECU into lone possession of first place in the GAC standings. The Lady Tigers were in a three-way tie for first with Southwestern and Ouachita Baptist, who was idle tonight, but are now a half-game ahead of OBU and Arkansas Tech.

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