No field goals for a nearly six minutes in the final seven of the game and foul trouble resulted in the East Central University women's basketball team dropping a 72-84 overtime decision to No. 15 Arkansas Tech on the road in Great American Conference action.
The Tigers (10-5, 6-3 GAC) were led by senior Ashleigh Kelman-Poto, who tallied a career-best 23 points and added nine rebounds. Freshman Kendal Rogers also had a career day for ECU, with career highs of 10 points and six made free throws.
The opening half was a defensive battle most of the way through, with long periods without scoring. The game started out slow, with the Tigers the first to get on the scoreboard at 18:37. The Golden Suns (14-1, 9-0 GAC) were held without a field goal until 16:57, but hit two free throws at 17:37.
ECU was the first to break away, going on a 5-0 run over a two-minute span to take a 9-4 lead, with 14:30 left to play. The teams went back to trading baskets for the next 5:30 minutes before the Tigers again pulled away with a 9-2 run over the next three minutes for a 26-16 advantage. ATU countered with a 5-0 run to cut the lead to five and then used another 5-0 run in the final three minutes to cut the disadvantage to three, 31-28, at the intermission.
The Tigers came out ready to play again at the start of the second half, going on a 9-3 run in the first four minutes to push the lead back to 40-32. However, the Golden Suns came back on strong with 15:30 left to play, starting a 5-0 run the cut the ECU lead to three (43-40). The Tigers came back with a 6-2 run of their own over the next three minutes to push the lead back to seven (49-42).
ATU did not give up and pushed the momentum back in their favor using a 12-2 run over the next three minutes to take their first lead of the game, 51-54. ECU would not be silenced though, and put together an 11-1 run over the next four minutes to regain the lead, 64-55.
The tug of war for control of the scoreboard was not done there, as the Golden Suns put together an 11-2 run until 4.8 seconds remained to tie the game at 66 and force overtime.
The teams traded free throws in the first 1:30 of overtime, but it was ATU who was able to take control and used a 10-0 run in the middle of the extra five minutes to pull away and earn the 72-84 win.
After shooting 50 percent from the field in the first half, the Tigers got cold late in the second half and did not score a field goal from 1:56 left in the second half until 1:25 remained in overtime. ECU also struggled with fouls, with three players fouling out of the game.
The Tigers will now return home for the annual Blackout the Power of the Storm rivalry game against Southeastern Oklahoma State, Thursday, Jan. 22 at 5:30 p.m. in the Kerr Activities Center.