Delta State women fall in regional final

Published 12:02 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2011

History repeated itself for Delta State on Monday night, and not in a good way.

The Lady Statesmen went seven minutes without scoring in the first half against Arkansas Tech, fell behind by 19 points and never caught up. The end result was an 85-77 loss to their Gulf South Conference rivals in the NCAA Division II South Region championship game. It’s the second straight year Tech has ended Delta State’s season in the regional final.

“I wish we had played better,” Delta State coach Sandra Rushing said. “Bottom line, I wish we had won.”

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Arkansas Tech (30-2), the Gulf South champion and top seed in the regional, won its 36th straight game on its home court. It will face Michigan Tech in the Division II Elite Eight on March 22 in St. Joseph, Mo.

Arkansas Tech took control in the first half by controlling the inside. The Golden Suns outscored DSU 22-4 in the paint and won the rebounding battle 17-10. For the game, Tech had a 44-20 advantage in the paint.

Delta State (28-4) was able to cut into the deficit, but still went into halftime down 39-28. It never got closer than seven points in the second half.

Natalia Santos led Arkansas Tech with 25 points, and was one of four Golden Suns to score in double figures. Jenny Vining had 17 points and Jessica Weatherford scored 16.

Bug Cooper and Sheena Johnson scored 16 points apiece for Delta State, Shameka Russell had 15 and Veronica Walker had 10 points and nine rebounds. Cooper finished with eight assists.