SEARCY – Harding head coach Tim Kirby collected his 300th victory Thursday as the Lady Bisons used a strong third quarter to defeat Henderson State, 92-73, in Great American Conference action at the Rhodes-Reaves Field House.
“Win No. 300 means that we’ve had some really good players,” Kirby said of the milestone, which he was unaware of when the game ended.
After dropping its first two games of the season on the road, Harding (1-2, 1-2) returned home and played its best game of the season, winning for the eighth straight time at the Rhodes-Reaves Field House. The team will look to make it nine Saturday when Southern Arkansas visits Searcy.
Henderson State dropped its second straight road game and fell to 1-2 overall and in the GAC.
Harding led 51-41 at halftime, and blew the game wide open in the third quarter. The Reddies opened the quarter with a 3-pointer, but the Lady Bisons responded with a 20-3 run over the next five minutes and led by 24 when Kylee Coulternailed a 3-pointer to with 2:53 left in the quarter. Harding held Henderson State to only 22% shooting and led 73-53 entering the fourth.
“It was big to be able to go into the fourth quarter without thinking that we had to score on every possession,” Kirby said.
Kennedy Cooper led Harding with a season-high 17 points and 11 rebounds, her second double-double of the season and sixth of her career. Carissa Caples scored 16 points and led the team with five assists. Freshman Sage Hawley scored 14 points on 7 of 9 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds for her first career double-double, and fellow freshman Lexi Davis made three 3-pointers and scored 11.
The Lady Bisons pushed the lead to as many as 25 points midway through the final quarter.
Harding weathered a 15-2 Henderson State run in the second quarter, answering it with an 11-2 run to lead 51-41 at halftime. The Lady Bisons shot 50% in the quarter and made three 3-pointers.
Harding overcame an early deficit to lead 28-20 after one quarter, ending the period on an 11-0 run. The Lady Bisons scored 16 of their 28 points in the paint and shot 63% from the field. Harding also connected on 7 of 9 free throws. Cooper scored eight points in the period. Henderson State made four early 3-pointers but cooled off to shot 40% in the period.
Harding outrebounded Henderson State 51-33. The Lady Bisons outscored the Reddies 52-24 in the paint.
Ashley Farrar led Henderson State with 23 points, shooting 9 of 20 from the field.