BARTLESVILLE, Okla. – Southeastern jumped out to a seven-point second-half lead, but saw its shooting go cold as Harding put together a run to regain the lead and pull away late, handing the Savage Storm a 77-63 season-ending loss on Thursday afternoon in the opening game of the 2013 Great American Conference Tournament in Bartlesville, Okla.
The loss means SE will finish the season at 10-17.
Bailey Welch paced the Storm on offense with 14 points that included a 6-for-7 effort from the charity stripe.
Welch, who was already third on SE's all-time assists list added a team-high four helpers in the finale along with four rebounds.
Emily Williams also cracked double-figures with 12 points that included a pair of threes.
Cheree Kiser posted nine points that was bolstered by a 2-for-2 effort from three-point range, while Natalie Ruud chipped in eight as did Haley Schaefer.
Williams paced the Storm on the glass with eight, while Ruud added five.
The teams were even in points off turnovers at 14 each, as both teams kept miscues relatively low at 12 for SE and 13 for HU.
The Bisons used their rebounding edge to post a 14-9 advantage in second chance points, while SE got a boost from the bench with a 22-15 edge in bench scoring.
The Storm fell in an early 7-0 hole as the Bisons connected on their first two three of the game and added a free throw at the 18:42 mark.
SE answered finally with back-to-back-to-back buckets from Ruud, Richards and Welch to close the game to 7-6 with 15:26 to play in the half.
HU would answer, but a Williams jumper followed by a Welch three-point play gave Southeastern an 11-9 lead with 13:55 to play in the first.
The Bisons answered with an 11-0 run to push its lead out to 20-11 midway through the half.
The Storm answered with an 11-2 run of its own capped by a Williams three that tied the game at 22-22 with 5:16 to play.
The teams traded five point runs and stood tied at 27-27 with 3:00 to play.
Ruud then connected on a jumper for a two point lead, but HU regained the advantage with a three.
The teams then traded buckets and Kiser would close out the scoring in the half with a free throw that knotted the game at 32-32.
HU jumped out to a five-point advantage early in the second half, but SE would keep them close and eventually reel in the Bisons when Williams hit a layup at the 15:06 mark to put the Storm up 42-41.
A Kiser three followed by an English layup would extend the Southeastern advantage to 47-41 with 13:39 to play.
A Welch free throw following a Bisons technical foul would give the Storm its largest lead at 50-43 with 13:15 to play.
Harding answered with a 15-0 run to regain control of the contest and take a 58-50 lead with 6:39 to play.
The Storm would stop the run with a three from Kiser, but could not mount a run of its own as HU would pull away in the final five minutes, falling by a final of 77-63.