ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Junior Jhasmin Bowen
led a record-setting defensive performance as the University of Arkansas women's basketball team (8-0) ran past Binghamton (1-5) in a 72-23 win to capture the New Mexico Thanksgiving Tournament title inside The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M., on Saturday night.
Tournament MVP Bowen followed a career-best 20-point outbreak from a night before with 15 points against Binghamton, while teammate Calli Berna
was also selected to the all-tournament team.
Holding Binghamton to just nine first-half points, the defensive performance by the Razorbacks marked a season-low for a half and also ranked second best in program history. The Bearcats finished the game shooting just 17 percent (8-for-46).
“I just think it’s something that we’ve always been good at and these freshmen are understanding that it’s important,” said head coach Tom Collen
. “We are going to need it for the SEC. I think they’re understanding it and some are further ahead than others.”
The Razorbacks also registered a season-high 50 rebounds, outworking the Bearcats on the boards by a 50-to-26 margin.
finished with 12 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting, while fellow freshman Jessica Jackson
scored 11 points to reach double figures for the seventh game in eight outings this season.
“I really thought going into this year, Kenzie was going to be our best three-point shooter,” Collen said. “She’s just been real up and down with it, but tonight is the kind of night we like to see from her.”
Arkansas came out shooting 31 percent over the first six minutes of play, but out-rebounded Binghamton 11-to-2--including seven offensive rebounds--to compensate and build an early 10-0 lead. Adams led the way early, hitting a pair of three-pointers on perfect shooting.
The Razorback defense swarmed and pressed the Bearcats into bad looks the entire half, holding BU to just one layup (1-for-11) and stretching the Arkansas lead to 15-2 with 11:40 to play in the first. The full-court press of the Razorbacks forced the Bearcats into 10 first-half turnovers.
Closing the first half on a 15-5 run, the Razorbacks heated up its shooting to end the half 43 percent from the floor and 44 percent from three-point range. Adams, Bowen and Bria Pitts
each scored six points, while Joey Bailey
and Melissa Wolff
added in four points each in a balanced scoring load.
Arkansas came out of halftime with a 10-3 run to help extend its lead to 45-9 over midway through the second half. Adams continued her hot shooting from the outside, leading all scorers with 12 points on sharp 4-for-5 shooting from downtown.
A 20-3 run late for the Razorbacks pushed the lead to 66-18, as the Bearcats turned the ball over a total of 17 times on the night to just nine Arkansas miscues.
Arkansas returns home for a brief two-day period, but quickly returns to the road for its next game at Kansas (4-3) on Dec. 4. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.