Jan. 17—The East Central University women's basketball team started off well enough against Southern Arkansas during their Great American Conference matchup Saturday afternoon inside the Kerr Activities Center.
After Kayle Alt sank a 3-pointer late in the opening period, the Tigers had started the game off on a 14-9 run.
However, the Muleriders erupted for 30 points in the second quarter and galloped to a 78-62 victory.
ECU dropped to 5-7 overall and 1-7 in conference play, while Southern Arkansas left town at 9-5 and 4-4.
The Muleriders hit 6-of-10 field goals — including 3-of-3 3-point buckets — and doubled up the Tigers 30-15 in the second period to build a 41-29 halftime lead.
"Southern Arkansas is a talented team," said ECU head coach Heather Hurt. "They made shots on us — a lot of well-contested shots over us. We needed to rebound and make more shots to give us a better chance."
East Central narrowed the gap to 53-45, heading into the fourth quarter. After Tatum Havens and Alt sank back-to-back 3-pointers, the Tigers had pulled within 62-58 with 4:12 to play. But SAU sank 14-of-17 free throws in the final frame to keep the Tigers at bay.
The Muleriders closed out the game on a 16-4 run.
Southern Arkansas ended the game 8-of-14 (57.1%) from 3-point territory and went 22-of-27 from the free-throw line. East Central made 5-of-21 (23.8%) 3-point attempts. The Tigers did make the most of their trips to the charity stripe, connecting on 13-of-14 tries.
"You've got be able to match their tempo and make shots and we just didn't make shots like they did," Hurt said.
SAU also held a 33-24 rebounding advantage.
The Tigers had one of their most balanced attacks of the season, with three players reaching double-digit figures.
Kennedy Cummings was an efficient 5-for-8 from the field and a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe en route to her season-high 18 points.
Alt posted a career-high 16 points, going 5-for-9 from the floor and 4-of-5 from downtown. Mackenzie Crusoe added 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Addy Tremie led Southern Arkansas with 18 points. Diamond Morris followed with 13. Both players sank a pair of 3-pointers. Zykeria Anderson also hit double figures with 12 points for the visitors.
The Tigers head back to Arkansas on Thursday and Saturday. ECU meets Ouachita Baptist at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday and Henderson State at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Both games are in Arkadelphia.
The ECU women's basketball team will hit the road next week to take on Ouachita Baptist and Henderson State on Jan. 18th and 20th.