Crusoe erupts for 32 points in ECU's win over Golden Suns

Feb. 7—In a standout performance, the East Central University women's basketball team executed 40 minutes of crisp action on both ends of the court in a 65-62 win over Arkansas Tech University on Saturday at the Kerr Activities Center.

The Tigers improved to 6-12 overall and 2-12 in Great American Conference play and snapped a six-game losing skid. The Golden Suns left town at 9-9 and 6-8.

Setting the tone early, Mackenzie Crusoe sank a 3-pointer on the Tigers' initial possession. Despite Arkansas Tech staying close, ECU kept the lead throughout the first period with a score of 16-13. Crusoe dominated the first 10 minutes, contributing 13 of those Tiger points. She finished with a career-high 32 points.

The Golden Suns briefly took the lead early in the second quarter after a 5-2 scoring run gave them an 18-17 edge, but Jayden Weiberg's 3-pointer reclaimed the lead for the Tigers. Both teams exchanged leads and tied the score twice, but a six-point streak by ECU extended its lead to 32-26. The Golden Suns managed to trim the deficit down, though, 32-30 heading into halftime.

Out of the intermission, the Tigers expanded their lead, reaching a seven-point advantage at 45-38 with 5:44 remaining in the third quarter. The Golden Suns responded with an 8-1 run to knot the score 46-all, but ECU quickly countered with a 6-2 run to lead 52-48 heading into the final frame.

Arkansas Tech continued to narrow the gap in the fourth quarter, taking a 54-53 lead at the 7:19 mark. ECU answered back with Crusoe scoring five consecutive points, pushing the Tigers to a seven-point lead once again at 63-56.

A last-minute comeback by the Golden Suns, with a 6-0 run, brought them within one point at 63-62 with 16 seconds remaining in the game. However, Crusoe's successful pair of free throws with 12 seconds showing secured the win. Alex Hill missed a game-tying 3-pointer as time ran out for Arkansas Tech.

Crusoe finished 9-for-20 from the floor and converted 12-of-14 free throws. Additionally, she grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and eight steals in an impressive all-around effort.

Jayden Weiberg also scored in double figures, contributing 12 points, all of which came on four 3-pointers.

Hill led Arkansas Tech with 24 points, including a trio of 3-point baskets.

The ECU women's basketball team will hit the road for a four-game stretch, beginning with matchups against Southern Arkansas University at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and a trip to Arkansas-Monticello at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Note: Ada News sports editor Jeff Cali contributed to this report.