Coach Darin Grover’s young ladies will open the Great American Conference post-season tournament at noon Friday against East Central.
The tournament is being held in Bruin Fieldhouse in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Southeastern finished in fourth place with East Central fifth in the final GAC regular-season standings.
Harding was the runaway women’s champion with a sparkling 21-1 conference record, 24-3 overall, with the only loss coming by one point at Southwestern.
No. 2 Arkansas Tech (20-6 and 16-6) was a 71-63 loser to Southeastern in last Saturday’s regular-season finale at Bloomer Sullivan Arena.
Southeastern and Southwestern had identical 15-7 conference records. SW was 19-9 overall to SE’s 17-9. The Lady Bulldogs earned the third spot by virtue of the win over No. 1 Harding.
East Central (13-13) was fifth at 12-10 and Southern Nazarene (13-13) sixth at 10-12. Ouachita Baptist (12-16) was seventh at 9-13 and Arkansas-Monticello (11-15) claimed the last playoff spot at 8-14.
Northwestern (9-19 and 8-14), Henderson State (8-20 and 8-14), Oklahoma Baptist (9-19 and 6-16) and Southern Arkansas (6-20 and 4-18) rounded out the conference standings.
Oklahoma Baptist was ineligible for postseason play due to provisional membership status with the GAC.
Southeastern fans will be able to follow the action on Mix 96 at 96.1 FM or with the conference video on the internet. The video is available at greatamericanconference.com or by going to the link on the Storm basketball schedule at gosoutheastern.com.
The tournament begins Thursday, March 2, with games for both women and men:
2017 GAC Tournament
Thursday, March 2
1. Noon – No. 2 Arkansas Tech vs. No. 7 Ouachita Baptist
2. 5:45 p.m. – No. 1 Harding vs. No. 8 Arkansas-Monticello
Friday, March 3
3. Noon – No. 4 Southeastern vs. No. 5 East Central
4. 2:15 p.m. – No. 3 Southwestern vs. No. 6 Southern Nazarene
Saturday, March 4
5. Noon – Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner
6. 2:15 p.m. – Game 1 winner vs. Game 4 winner
Sunday, March 5
7. 1 p.m. – Semifinal No. 1 winner vs. Semifinal No. 2 winner
The Savage Storm finished strong by winning five of the last seven regular-season games.
Sophomore Katie Webb has moved into the top scoring slot for Southeastern and is now averaging 13.7 points per game to go with team highs of 7.5 rebounds, 32 steals and 17 blocked shots.
Senior Olivia Potter is averaging 12.8 points and shooting .366 on 75 of 205 from beyond the arc.
Senior Rachel Wallace hits 8.5 points and grabs 4.2 boards a game. Junior Sa’Liesha Hunter scores 7.7 points with 3.7 rebounds per game and leads the team with 103 assists.
Junior Emem David averages 6.9 points and is second with 7.4 rebounds per game. She has the top shooting percentage with .532 on 58 of 109 from the floor. Sophomore Ariannah Kemp scores 6.2 points and collects 5.6 rebounds a game.
The Storm will enter the tournament scoring 71.6 points and pulling down 41.9 boards a game. The team allows 68.6 points and 40.5 rebounds. Southeastern shoots .320 on 204 of 637 three-point attempts.
COACH KELLY GREEN’S men finished with a rush, winning the last three games of the season, including a record-setting effort against Harding.
That 121-112 overtime victory over the Bisons featured 6-2, 195-pound senior Anton Cook from Birmingham, Alabama.
Cook poured in 48 points on 12 of 22 from the floor, including seven of 10 three-pointers to go with 17 of 18 free throws.
Cook had set the Great American Conference single-game record three weeks ago with 46 points, so he replaced himself as the GAC top scorer.
The game was the highest-scoring in GAC history with 233 points. The overtime period set an NCAA Division II record as Southeastern scored 28 points, breaking the old mark of 27 by Southern Indiana in 1985. The combined OT scoring of 47
points also set a D-II record, eclipsing the 46 by North Dakota State and South Dakota on January 9, 1999, and matched by NDSU and St. Cloud (Minnesota) State on January 16, 1999.
Cook paced the Storm this season with 19.6 points a game. He had 4.1 rebounds and shot .381 on 77 of 20 from three-point land.
Senior Tyler Lonzie averaged 11.2 points and led the team with 7.8 rebounds a game and 34 blocked shots. Freshman Kevin Buckingham scored 10.8 points and grabbed 5.5 boards while shooting .388 on 52 of 134 trey tries and leading the team with 43 steals.
Sophomore Jett Jobe scored 8.4 points and shot .393 on 46 of 117 three-pointers while dishing out 147 assists. Senior Nathan Jackson averaged 6.5 points and 4.4 rebounds a game. Redshirt-freshman Bobby Johnson hit 6.2 points per game.
The team averaged 73.7 points and 37.9 rebounds a game while allowing 71.9 points and 34.8 boards. The overall record was 12-16 and the GAC mark of 8-14 wasn’t quite enough to make the eight-team postseason tournament.
COACH RON FAUBION’S LadyStorm softballers will host Northwestern’s Lady Rangers for Friday-Saturday doubleheaders with a 1 p.m. first-pitch time both days.
Southeastern is coming off a Saturday split with Arkansas-Monticello that featured a 2-0 win over then-undefeated Kendra Coleman, now 6-1.
The Storm will try to stay away from the long ball, which has been a problem this season. A strong showing against Northwestern could get the season back on the right track.
Southeastern is 7-7 overall and 1-3 in the Great American Conference. Northwestern is 2-14 and 0-4 and under the interim direction of coach Jill Webb.
Jordyn James is the hitting leader with a sparkling .412 average that includes 14 hits, one home run and 12 runs batted in.
Destiny Riddle is batting .362 with 17 hits, six doubles, two homers and a team-high 15 runs batted in.
Kennedy Salyers has a .327 batting average with 16 hits, six doubles and nine RBIs.
Symphoni Shomo averages .326 with 15 hits, four doubles and three stolen bases in four attempts.
Keeshia Thompson comes in with a .306 batting average and 11 hits.
Mykaela Wallace is hitting .283 with 13 hits, one double, two triples, two home runs and nine RBIs. Conner Harmon averages .268 with 11 hits, four doubles and two homers.
Emily Cudd leads the circle crew with a 6-3 record. She has made 13 appearances with seven starts, three complete games and a 4.06 earned-run average.
Game time is 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday when the LadyStorm hosts Northwestern in Great American Conference action.
Softball is the only team at home this weekend with coach Mike Metheny’s baseballers on the road at Northwestern and the women tipping off at noon Friday in the GAC postseason basketball tournament in Bartlesville.
Storm men’s and women’s tennis teams improved to 3-0 on the season after Tuesday’s identical 6-3 wins over Cowley County Community College, the country’s 8th-ranked junior college program.
The tennis teams have a three-game road swing coming up at St. Edward’s Thursday in Austin, Texas; and vs. Laredo College Friday and St. Mary’s University Saturday, both in San Antonio, Texas.
The netters are back home on Thursday, March 9, against Ferris State. That starts seven in a row at home for the ladies that ends against Colin County on Saturday, March 25.
The men will play eight matches from March 9-29 with six at home and two on the road.
Harold Harmon is retired Sports Editor at the Democrat and Sports Information Director at Southeastern