NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A late second-half scoring drought made the difference as the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team lost a tight road contest to Vanderbilt, 55-53, Thursday evening at Memorial Gymnasium. Sophomore Kelsey Brooks led all scorers, pouring in 20 points.
Arkansas falls to 11-7 overall and 1-5 in SEC play. The Razorbacks remain on the road for their next game, facing Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Sunday. Vanderbilt improves to 11-8 and 2-4.
The Razorbacks led for nearly 36 minutes of the game and held a 49-37 edge at the 10:14 mark in the second half. However, Arkansas would conclude the game’s final 10 minutes scoring just four more points – all at the free throw line – while missing its last 18 shots from the field.
Despite the scoring drought, Arkansas still had opportunities to win in the game’s final moments. After Vanderbilt made 1-of-2 at line with eight seconds to go, Arkansas got the rebound but a potential game-winning three point attempt from the top of the key rimmed out.
Arkansas shot 35.7 percent from the field compared to Vanderbilt’s 44.9 percent.
Despite a team-high seven rebounds from junior Melissa Wolff, Arkansas was outrebounded for only the fifth time all season, 35-34.
Arkansas saw all nine of its players find the scoring column, led by Brooks’ 20. Senior Jhasmin Bowen chipped in nine and five rebounds while freshman McKinley Bostad had six and senior Calli Berna finished with five points and five assists.
The Razorbacks held a 32-23 lead at the break, following a Berna three in the corner as time expired. Arkansas made five of its first seven shots and led by as many as 12 with six minutes left in the half.
Arkansas takes on Florida Sunday at 11 a.m. CT. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
“Somebody told me we missed our last 18 shots in the ball game. You’re just not going to beat a good team on their home floor doing that. We did so many good things in the game, our defense was outstanding. The second half they just kept pounding it inside and we didn’t have the size to hold up. They scored on every one of our post defenders. They did a good job. Melanie (Balcomb) did a good job of doing what she had to do to win the ballgame. Very disappointing. We had control of this ball game. Beating Vanderbilt on their home floor would have been a big boost to us but we didn’t get it done. We didn’t play well enough down the stretch to get it done. We’ll go home and get ready for Florida on Sunday.
That was a hard gut punch to us right there because we had control of that ball game and deserved to win, but didn’t get it done. We’re still a good basketball team, we’ll find a way to finish games and have to do a better job coaching them down the stretch to get better shots because you can’t, again, 0-for-18 from the field to finish a ball game, you’re not going to beat anybody, much less a good team in this league.” – head coach Jimmy Dykes
POST GAME NOTES
– Sophomore Kelsey Brooks finished with 20 points, the 16th game this season she’s been in double figures and fifth time she’s scored 20+.
– Arkansas was outrebounded for just the fifth time this season
– The Razorbacks led 32-23 at halftime, the fifth consecutive conference game they have led at the break
– Arkansas started Jackson, Bowen, Berna, Brooks, Wolff, the 15th time that lineup has started (10-5).
– All nine Razorbacks made at least one field goal.