Courtesy University of Arkansas Athletics Department
FAYETTEVILLE – Good guard play and sticky defense paced the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team to a 61-40 win over Missouri in SEC action Sunday in the team’s annual Pink Game.
Arkansas (17-8, 5-7 SEC) got 18 points from freshman Dominique Wilson and nine from sophomore Calli Berna in the program’s second win over the Tigers since Missouri joined the SEC this season. Wilson became the first Arkansas freshman since 2006 to score at least 17 points in three consecutive games.
The Razorbacks held one of the top five three-point shooting teams in the country with just two triples and allowed the Tigers just 11 first half points – an opponent low in an SEC game in program history. The 40 points allowed is the lowest point total by an SEC opponent this season.
“We played great defense and we didn’t give them many open looks,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “We did a good job of executing our game plan defensively in the first half. We missed some easy shots in the first half and really never found our rhythm in the second half offensively but we did enough to get the win.”
An early-game 15-0 run by the Razorbacks allowed Arkansas to establish the tempo and Missouri struggled to recover from the quick home team lead. The Razorback defense was stingy and the Tigers, one of the best three point shooting teams in the country, had attempted, and missed, just one three in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Erin Gatling, who was an offensive force in the first meeting between these teams, was a defensive stopper in the opening frame getting a hand in the passing lanes and disrupting the Tigers who never settled into a shooting rhythm in the first half. Gatling finished the game with nine points, going 6-for-6 from the line.
The Tigers were ice cold from the floor going 8:47 without a basket before getting a layup to cut the lead to 11, 17-6.
Arkansas ended the half on a 9-0 run and went into the locker room with a 33-11 lead, holding the Tigers to the lowest point total in a half in an SEC game in program history. Arkansas forced 10 Missouri turnovers while committing a season-low three miscues in the first half.
The Razorback post players had more success in the second half as Arkansas continued to control the pace and tempo of the game. Sarah Watkins finished the day with 12 points, her 17th game in double figure scoring. Jhasmin Bowen dropped in eight for Arkansas as they scored 12 points in the paint in the win.
For the game, Arkansas shot 38 percent going 17-for-45 from the floor. The Razorbacks outrebounded Missouri 39-32, and forced 20 Tiger turnovers. Arkansas hit five threes in the win.
The Razorbacks return to action Thursday traveling to Athens, Ga., facing the No. 13/12 Lady Bulldogs. Arkansas returns home hosting No. 12/10 Tennessee Sunday.