The University of Arkansas at Little Rock women's team was picked to finish second in the Sun Belt Conference on Thursday by conference coaches in their preseason poll, while Arkansas State University was picked to finish sixth.
UALR received two first-place votes and finished with 125 points in the poll, finishing behind Texas-Arlington, which received seven first-place votes and 136 points. Troy (119 points) finished third, followed by Louisiana-Lafayette (116), Texas State (89) and ASU (71).
UALR went 25-9 last season and lost in the second round of the WNIT to Alabama. ASU finished 7-25 and lost in the second round of the Sun Belt Tournament to Troy.
Starr Taylor led the Arkansas State University women's basketball team with 12 points in a 83-52 exhibition victory over the University of Arkansas-Monticello at the Convocation Center on Wednesday.
Jada Ford and Akasha Westbrook each had 10 for ASU. Ogo Obinabo grabbed eight rebounds.
Brittnee Broadway led all scorers with 15 points for UAM. Broadway and Charlynn Perry each had six rebounds.
Harding University (7-9-3) took 16 shots Thursday, including six on-goal, but the Lady Bisons fell 3-0 to Southwestern Oklahoma State (11-3-4) in the semifinals of the Great American Conference Tournament in Shawnee, Okla.
The Lady Bulldogs scored twice in the first half, getting goals from Alimata Rabo in the 20th minute and Lauren Williams in the 45th minute to take a 2-0 lead. Rabo added a second goal in the 54th minute to set the final score.
Harding and Ouachita Baptist University swept the Great American Conference's men's postseason awards Thursday while placing 13 combined players on the first and second team all-GAC teams.
OBU's Tinashe Chigede was named the conference's offensive player of the year, while Edward Pacheco was named the goalkeeper of the year. Harding's Aaron Craig was named defensive player of the year, Jonathan Curnutt was honored as the freshman of the year, and Jon Ireland took coach of the year. Chigede, Pacheco and Craig were all unanimous first-team All-GAC selections. Curnutt was not named to either the first or second team.
Harding's Jason Diaz and Christian Ramos were both unanimous first-team selections, while teammate Van Thang also made the first team. OBU's Noa Cuellar and Tyler Mouton were first-team selections. Harding's Andre Cunha and Michael Wasson were named to the second team, as were OBU's Blaine Hickman, Jakob Cuellar and Hector Duron.
The 10th-ranked Arkansas Tech University Golden Suns remained undefeated Thursday with a 3-0 (25-9, 25-15, 25-21) sweep of Southern Arkansas University in Russellville.
Lexie Johnston led Arkansas Tech (30-0, 14-0 GAC) with 10 kills, while Amanda Milnick had a match-high 35 assists and 7 digs. Hunter Eshnaur had a match-high nine digs. Alli O'Banion led the Lady Muleriders (8-21, 1-13 GAC) with 6 kills, while Alexa Bass had 14 assists and Whitney Brown had a team-high 8 digs.
The Golden Suns are 30-0 for the first time in program history and are the first team in NCAA Division II to reach 30 victories this season.
Harding fell to Henderson State 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-19) on Thursday in Arkadelphia, snapping its 11-match Great American Conference winning streak.
Harding is 24-4 and 12-2 in the GAC. Henderson State improves to 12-15 and 5-9 in the GAC.
The Lady Bisons were led by Taylor Mounts, who had a career-high 20 kills. Emma Reeves also had a career-high 19 kills. Henderson State was led by Courtney Bolf, who had 14 kills and 12 digs. Violet Williams and Zuzana Ondruskova each had 11 kills.
University of Arkansas at Monticello sophomore Stephane Perrin was named the Great American Conference's men's golfer of the week Thursday.
Perrin led the Boll Weevils to a runner-up showing at The Classic at Firewheel in Garland, Texas. He finished in a tie for fourth place individually after shooting a 7-over 223. Perrin also finished in fourth place at the Tennessee National Guard Invitational in Jackson, Tenn.
Southern Arkansas President Trey Berry and Athletic Director Steve Browning announced Thursday that the Muleriders will offer men's and women's tennis starting in the fall of 2018.
The teams will compete in both the fall and spring semesters, with team championships being held in the spring. SAU is also in the process of securing a bid for a multiphase tennis complex to be constructed in the near future. The first phase will include eight tennis courts, while the second phase includes team locker rooms, coaches' offices and public restrooms.
The Muleriders have a combined 15 conference championships and over 100 all-conference players between their men's and women's programs. SAU last fielded a men's team in the 1992-1993 season and last had a women's team in the 2011-2012 season. A nationwide search for head coaches for both teams is underway.