FORT SMITH, Ark. – Three players scored in double-figures for UAFS, but the Lady Lions’ late comeback bid against Harding fell just short on Monday afternoon as the Bison held on for a 70-59 New Year’s Eve win at the Stubblefield Center.
Junior forward Tamera Gulley had 15 points, senior forward Sarah Elkins had 13 and junior guard Alexsis Brown had 11 to lead the Lady Lions (3-10), who will begin Heartland Conference play against Oklahoma Christian at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Stubblefield Center.
The Lady Lions shot 39 percent from the field (22 of 56) – they were only 1-of-12 shooting from 3-point range – and shot 70 percent from the free-throw line (14 of 20).
Gulley led UAFS with seven rebounds, four blocked shots and five steals.
UAFS trailed by 10 points at halftime (38-29) and fell behind by 15 points (43-28) with less than nine minutes to play in the third quarter. The Lady Lions rallied to cut their deficit to as few as four points in the third quarter before settling on a six-point deficit (52-46) going into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Lions began the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run to take a one-point lead (53-52) on a jumper by sophomore guard Dachelle Terry with 6:14 left to play. Harding answered with a 6-0 run to regain its lead and stretch its advantage to five-point lead (58-53) on a layup by sophomore forward Kenney Cooper with less than four minutes remaining.
Senior forward Sarah Elkins kept UAFS within striking distance with a jumper in the paint that cut the Lady Lions’ deficit to three points (58-55). Harding held UAFS without a field goal the final three minutes while extending its lead back to double-digits.
Sophomore forward Kellie Lampo dominated for the Bison, finishing with 27 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot. She had 23 points and nine rebounds in the first half before enduring foul trouble in the second half – she picked up three of her four fouls in the second half – that forced her to spend considerable minutes on the bench.
Sophomore guard Carissa Caples finished with 16 points, while Cooper had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Lampo and Cooper helped Harding (8-2) outrebound the UAFS by 12 rebounds (40-28).
Harding shot 46 percent from the field (25 of 55) – it was 4-of-14 shooting from 3-point range – and shot 62 percent from the free-throw line (16 of 26).
HARDING 70, UAFS 59
Harding 19 19 14 18 — 70
UAFS 19 9 18 13 — 59
Harding (8-2): Lampo 27, Caples 16, Cooper 11, Kearney 9, Bradley 4, Padgett 3
UAFS (3-10): Gulley 15, Elkins 13, A. Brown 11, Green 9, Richardson 6, Terry 5