In the last meeting between Harding and Henderson State on Jan. 30 in Arkadelphia, the Lady Bisons came from 17 points down with just under six minutes left in regulation to win in overtime.
On Saturday, Harding trailed by as many as 19 points in the third quarter, but its frantic comeback got only within three points before Henderson State's Maci Mains hit a 3-pointer with just over a minute left to send the Reddies to an 82-75 victory over Harding in women's basketball action at the Rhodes-Reaves Field House.
The loss was Harding's first at home this season and snapped an 11-game winning streak dating to last season. The Lady Bisons, who won 103-87 over Southern Arkansas a night earlier, fell to 6-4 overall and in conference play.
"It's pretty disappointing that they were able to come in here and take it to us," Harding coach Tim Kirby said. "Until we started pressing we were not the aggressors on anything."
Henderson State won its third straight overall and second consecutive road game to improve to 4-5 overall and 4-4 in conference.
Harding missed its first 10 shots of the third quarter, and Henderson State pushed its lead to 19 at 58-39 on a Jadah Pickens layup with 3:15 left. It was the Reddies' last field goal of the quarter. Harding went into a full-court press and closed the gap with a 10-2 run over the last three minutes. Hannah Collins hit a running 3-pointer at the buzzer to pull Harding within 60-49.
Harding trailed 70-59 with 4:59 left but went on a 10-2 run over the next three minutes and cut the gap to 72-69 on Jacie Evans’ layup with 2:36 left. Mains hit the 3-pointer with 1:34 left, and Henderson State made seven free throws down the stretch to maintain the lead.
Henderson State made its first four 3-pointers and jumped out to an early 14-6 lead. The Reddies cooled off and made only one of their next eight shots. Harding shot 33 percent in the quarter with four of its five field goals coming from Sage Hawley. The Lady Bisons were 5 of 6 from the line and trailed 20-15 after one.
"They got whatever shot they wanted on us tonight," Kirby said. "We gave up too many 3s early and it got us behind early."
Henderson State shot 57 percent in the second quarter and extended its lead to 40-33 at halftime. Harding struggled in the paint in the first half, connecting on only 4 of 15 layups after making 22 layups in the win Friday over Southern Arkansas.
Hawley led Harding with a career-high 29 points and had nine rebounds. Kennedy Cooper added 15 points, Evans scored 12 and Carissa Caples had 10.
Mains led Henderson State with 26 points. She made five of Henderson State's 12 3-pointers.