Southern Arkansas put up a feisty effort in the Saturday afternoon game against the Harding Lady Bisons to open GAC play at home, falling 105-103 in overtime.
Impressive efforts came from throughout the Mulerider lineup, but there is no doubt senior Jessica Jones and true freshman Kylie Minter had standout performances.
The Muleriders matched the program record in three-point shots with 20, a record that was broken three games ago against Arlington Baptist. Minter and Jones combined to make 11 of the team's 20 threes and combined to put up 45 of the 64 points made off the bench which massively topped Harding's five bench points. Jones recorded a career-high 24 points while Minter also recorded career-high numbers with 21 points.
Jones started off with a bang, making three shots from behind the arc in just the first seven minutes of play. Her first came after two made Lady Bisons free throws to give the Muleriders the lead for the first time in the game. The Mulerider used three pointers two other time in the first quarter to regain the lead back from the Lady Bisons, including another from Jones and one from Brooklin Brown to gain the lead with 21 seconds to play. The Muleriders outscored the Lady Bisons 22-19 in the first quarter.
The Muleriders three point shooting success was resumed in the second quarter as they built upon their 22-19 lead with threes by freshman Riley Stanford and Morris. The Lady Bisons made two layups in a row to which senior Mychala Linzy responded with yet another three for the Riders. The Lady Bisons went on a 6-0 run to put they just one point shy of the Muleriders. Chloe Wilbanks made one final three for the Muleriders to guarantee that they entered the half in control of the lead. The Muleriders spent the second quarter drawing four fouls while committing zero and forced seven turnovers. Going into the half, Jessica Jones led Southern Arkansas with nine points and the only Mulerider block.
Harding went on a tear and held the Muleriders back eight points with just under three and a half minutes to play in the third quarter. Kylie Minter went on personal 13-5 run at the back end of the third quarter to tie the game at 64-64 before Morris regained the lead over Harding with a layup with 17 seconds on the clock.
The fourth quarter was an absolute back and forth effort between the teams, with the game tying five times and the lead changing four. Southern Arkansas play was highlighted by a final five threes made from eight attempts. The Lady Bisons' only made three-pointer could not have come at a better time as Kendrick Bailey made her first of eight attempted long shots with 11 seconds left on the clock to tie the game and ultimately force overtime play.
Kylie Minter started overtime scoring with a layup just 15 seconds into the final five minutes of play. Harding made back-to-back shots to gain the lead before SAU went on a 7-2 run that included threes by Jones and junior Addy Tremie and a jumper by Tremie. Harding tied the game back up with a layup and made free throw. The final five points came in the form of free throws, including four by Harding and one by the Muleriders.
The Muleriders forced 23 turnovers which serve as their second most of the season. Sage Hawley led Lady Bisons scoring with 43 points and a hefty 15 turnovers. Rory Geer also recorded a double double for the Lady Bisons, scoring 21 points and recording a bakers dozen rebounds.
The Muleriders fall to 2-4 on the season and will look to bounce back in their game next Saturday at Ouachita. Tip-off from Arkadelphia is set for 1:00 p.m.