Scott Goode, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information
MAGNOLIA – Carissa Caples scored 29 points, and Brooke Bradley added a career-high 20 points to lead a shorthanded Harding squad to an 87-80 victory over Southern Arkansas in Great American Conference women’s action at the W.T. Watson Athletic Center.
Harding (3-2, 3-2) played the game with only eight available players due to COVID-19 protocols. Southern Arkansas (1-3, 1-3) was in action for the first time in two weeks, also due to COVID-19 protocols.
Despite the game played at a frantic pace, Harding had only 20 turnovers. Last season in a loss to Southern Arkansas, Harding had 46.
“Anytime you face a team that’s going to press you for 40 minutes, you never know how you are going to respond,” Harding head coach Tim Kirby said. “I thought we handled the press well.”
Harding shot 55% in the first quarter and led 27-18. The Lady Bisons made five 3-pointers in the period. Harding continued to shoot well in the second quarter, hitting 47% and extending its lead to as many as 17 points.
A late corner 3-pointer from Lexi Davis gave the Lady Bisons a 51-36 lead at halftime.
Southern Arkansas outscored Harding 21-14 in the third quarter, but the Lady Bisons still held a 65-57 lead entering the fourth.
In the final quarter, Harding’s lead never went below six points, and the Lady Bisons made 10 of 12 free throws to seal the victory.
“Southern Arkansas is a very scrappy team,” Kirby said. “And I thought we scrapped with them.”
Caples made 11 of 19 shots, including two 3-pointers, and was 5 of 5 at the free throw line.
Bradley and Kylie Coulter both recorded their first career double-doubles. Bradley had 11 rebounds to go with her 20 points, and Coulter had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Lexi Davis had a career-high 12 points, and Jordan Elder had 11 points and a team-high six assists.
Diamond Morris and Ariana Guinn had 14 points each to lead Southern Arkansas.
Harding’s next scheduled game is Saturday at Henderson State. The Lady Reddies are currently sitting out due to COVID-19 protocols. A decision about the game will likely come Friday.