GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A balanced scoring effort was not enough for the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team as they fell, 58-69, in Southeastern Conference action to Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Thursday.
Arkansas falls to 17-11 overall and 5-10 in the SEC while Florida moves to 17-12 overall and 6-9 in league play.
Senior Sarah Watkins
led the team with 16 points followed by 11 from senior Erin Gatling
and 10 from junior Keira Peak
but Arkansas shot just 25.9 percent from the field for the game. The Razorbacks won the rebounding battle, 69-58, and force 16 Gator turnovers in the loss. Freshman Melissa Wolff
paced Arkansas with nine rebounds.
“I was proud of the way we played in the second half,”Arkansas head coach Tom Collen
said. “We never gave up. We attacked a little bit more and got to the free throw line earlier. Our defense was good. We got all the way back but just didn’t get the stops we needed at the end.
“We weren’t very aggressive or posed in the first half,” Collen continued. “We were better in the second half and did a lot of little things right but we dug ourselves a hole and just couldn’t get out.”
The Razorbacks did a lot of things well in the first half. They forced 10 Gator turnovers and out-rebounded Florida 19-16, but Arkansas struggled from the floor shooting just 26 percent and committed 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play.
Arkansas hit some big three pointers and got a layup from Watkins to close within one, 24-25, but the Gators closed the half on an 8-0 run as the Razorbacks finished the half without a score in the final 4:57 of the frame.
The Razorback scoring drought continued into the second half until the 16:51 mark when Gatling was able to drive and connect on a left-side layup as the points were hard to come by all night.
Arkansas stayed true to the game plan and the halftime adjustments and began chipping away at Florida’s lead. The Razorbacks put together a 9-0 run putting the Gators on their heels as the teams traded possessions and points.
Again Arkansas made an adjustment driving inside coming back from a 15 point deficit to tie the game at 55 with a layup at the 4:27 mark.
Just as Arkansas was able to string together some points the Gators answered with a run of its own. The Razorbacks went cold at an inopportune time finishing with just one basket in the final 4:27 of the game.
The Razorbacks hit five three’s in the first half but did not have one in the final 20 minutes of the contest. They were successful from the free throw line, going 17-for-24 but the Gators shot well all game finishing at 50 percent with a 29-for-58 night.
The Razorbacks celebrate Senior Day Sunday hosting Ole Miss in the final regular season SEC game of the season. Tip is scheduled for 2 p.m.