Lady Bison basketball

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Pink whistle.2015-006.09-074

Saturday evening’s Lady Bison basketball game against Southern Arkansas University was designated a “pink out” with the team wearing pink uniforms and the cheerleaders in pink and black.

This year there was an additional color with teal bisons on the players’ uniforms in honor of former Lady Bison Kendra Bailey who lost her battle with ovarian cancer in 2011 at the age of 28.

Watching the game, I somehow missed another neat aspect of the night, which I discovered looking through photos from the game while working on a brochure yesterday.

The referees had pink whistles. I don’t know their origin, but I had to smile seeing referees with pink whistles. Even the officials got into the spirit of the fight against cancer and added another touch to a great evening at the Rhodes.

By the way, the 16-3 Lady Bisons won the contest 72-61 and are ranked No. 20 in the latest USA Today Sports Division II Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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No. 8 seed Harding mades its fifth appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament after winning the Great American Conference Tournament in Bartlesville, Okla., defeating No. 4 seed East Central (77-65), No. 1 seed Arkansas Tech (83-64), and No. 6 Henderson State (93-86, 2ot) to win its first GAC Tournament title and earning the conference's first automatic berth

No. 8 seed Harding made its fifth appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament after winning the Great American Conference Tournament in Bartlesville, Okla., defeating No. 4 seed East Central, No. 1 seed Arkansas Tech (pictured), and No. 6 Henderson State to win its first GAC Tournament title and earn the conference’s first automatic berth.

The men’s and women’s basketball teams both advanced to the NCAA postseason tournament last week. It was the first time both teams made the tournament in the same year. It was also the first time the Lady Bisons have ever played in the tournament. On Friday, the women’s team fell to Concordia-St. Paul 68-57 in Searcy. Arielle Saunders led the Lady Bisons with 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. She also had three blocks. The Lady Bisons finished their record-breaking season with a 29-3 record. The men’s team fell to No. 1 seed Minnesota State-Mankato 97-56 on Saturday. The Bisons were led by Hayden Johnson who had 19 points. The men’s team received the Great American Conference’s first automatic bid after beating Henderson State 93-86 in the finals of the conference tournament. The men finished their season with a 15-15 record.

Elsewhere …

  • For men’s baseball, Chris Hardey lined a bases-loaded single up the middle to score Victor Guerra with the winning run in the Bisons’ 5-4 11-inning victory over No. 3 Southern Arkansas Saturday at Jerry Moore Field. With the victory, Harding (16-8, 8-4 GAC) won the series over Southern Arkansas (21-6, 10-5) two games to one. It was the first time since 2004 that the Bisons have won two games in a season over a team ranked in the top five nationally. The Bisons also defeated Central Baptist Tuesday, March 11, 7-6.
  • The Harding men’s golf team posted its third-best score of the season, and they finished fourth of 17 teams at the Dave Falconer Memorial Invitational, played Monday and Tuesday at Chamberlyne Country Club in Danville, Ark. Harding shot 299 in the first round and improved to 293 in the final round to finish at 16-over 592.
  • In women’s golf, junior Brittany Marquez put together her second solid round and placed fourth of 36 golfers at the Southwest Minnesota State Spring Invitational played Thursday and Friday at the LPGA International Hills Legends Course. Marquez has finished in the top five in three of the five events she has played in her junior season.
  • Southern Arkansas won all four games against the Lady Bisons softball team this past weekend. Carolyn Clayton led Harding on the weekend, hitting .400 with four hits, including a homerun. The Lady Bisons also split with Delta State last Tuesday in a non-conference doubleheader at the Harding Softball Field.
  • In women’s indoor track, Harding junior Ewa Zaborowska earned All-America honors for the second-straight season by finishing eighth in the mile at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships Saturday. Zaborowska, who qualified ninth, moved up one spot in the final with a time of 4 minutes, 57.83 seconds. She became only the fifth Lady Bison to earn multiple All-America honors indoors.
  • A quartet of Harding athletes on the men’s outdoor track team opened the 2014 outdoor track and field season Saturday at the Rhodes Open in Memphis, Tenn. Senior Andrew Evans defeated six other competitors to win the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 9 minutes, 33.47 seconds. It was Evans’ fourth career event victory in the steeplechase and his second in four career races at Rhodes.

This week’s schedule: (Home games in bold)

Tuesday, March 18

  • Baseball vs. Delta State, 2 p.m.
  • Women’s tennis vs. Henderson State, 3 p.m.

Wednesday, March 19

  • Men’s and women’s tennis at Lane College, 2 p.m.

Friday, March 21

  • Softball doubleheader vs. University of Arkansas-Monticello, 2 p.m.
  • Baseball at Arkansas-Monticello, 2 p.m.
  • Men’s and women’s track at UCA Relays

Satuday, March 22

  • Softball doubleheader vs. University of Arkansas-Monticello, 12 p.m.
  • Baseball doubleheader at University of Arkansas-Monticello, 12 p.m.
  • Men’s and women’s track at UCA Relays

Remember to check HardingSports.com for all the latest information on your Bisons and Lady Bisons.

Nathan Looney, assistant sports information director

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Senior Night.IMG_1787My wife and I walked across the basketball court with our daughter between us Tuesday night as Searcy High held Senior Night. Amazingly, no tears were shed!

Tonight we head to the Rhodes for the Lady Bison and Bison basketball Senior Night games against Arkansas Tech. The No. 3 ranked Lady Bisons will put their 25-1 record on the line. A victory tonight ties them for the most wins in program history (1996-97).

I’ve had the privilege of watching two of the six Lady Bison seniors play since their days at Searcy High, Kristen Celsor and Lauren Harrison. It also has been fun to see these two sweet Christian ladies become engaged to the two seniors on the men’s team, Kristen to Hayden Johnson and Lauren to Weston Jameson.

Four other Lady Bison seniors, Lauren Crenshaw, Deshelle Isaac-Boyce, Katy Preaus and Tanja Steed, will play their last home regular season game tonight.

My inside track on the Rowdies tells me there is going to be an interesting matchup during halftime of the men’s game you won’t want to miss if you are in the area.

The senior Lady Bisons will be honored after the girls’ game and the senior Bisons, cheerleaders and Rowdies will be recognized Harding style after the men’s game. There may even be a few tears.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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