GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Defensive struggles early set the tone as the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team dropped a Southeastern Conference contest at Florida, 58-72, Sunday.
The loss drops Arkansas to 11-8 overall and 1-6 in the SEC while Florida moves to 10-10 and 2-5 in the league.
Sophomore Kelsey Brooks led the Arkansas scoring with 14 points and junior Melissa Wolff finished the game with 12 as Arkansas put together a balanced scoring effort. Jessica Jackson added 11 points, Jhasmin Bowen had nine and Calli Berna tallied eight points and seven assists for Arkansas.
Arkansas had to play from behind after a slow start as the Gators took the early lead on their home court. Wolff put together a mini-scoring run with six quick points but Florida’s offense continued to outplay the Razorbacks early in the game.
Arkansas’ two leading scorers, Jackson and Brooks, were held scoreless for the first 11 minutes of the game. Arkansas shot 40.9 percent in the first half but hit just nine shots and struggled on the boards against the taller Gators. They were outrebounded 19-12 and suffered through 12 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
Brooks finished with 10 first-half points and Wolff added seven but the Razorbacks struggled defensively and Florida took a 41-24 led into the locker room at the break. The Gators shot 53.1 percent from the floor in the first frame.
Arkansas opened the second half with five points from the free throw line as neither team hit a field goal for almost four minutes of the second frame but the Razorbacks pushed the tempo of the game and closed the gap in the opening minutes.
Arkansas chipped away at the score cutting the lead to 10, then eight at the 6:50 mark and the Gators responded with a basket and plus-one stretching their lead back to 11.
But the Razorbacks wouldn’t go away. Arkansas put together a run hitting six-of-seven in a little over two minutes late in the game but the Gator offense continued to hit shots and hold on to the lead. Florida was almost perfect from the line down the stretch sealing the win.
Arkansas finished the game shooting 36.4 percent on 20-for-55 shooting. The Razorbacks were outrebounded 33-41, and took good care of the ball in the second half with just five turnovers.
The Razorbacks return home hosting Auburn Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. The game airs live on SEC Network Plus.
POST GAME NOTES
- Arkansas is 9-24 all-time against Florida. The Razorbacks are 3-11 in Gainesville.
- Arkansas is 6-5 all-time on games played on Jan. 25 including 3-4 on away courts.
- Today’s starters (Berna, Brooks, Bostad, Wolff and Bowen) are the fifth different lineup this season.
- Arkansas won the tip.
- Sophomore Kelsey Brooks scored 10 points in the first half, all coming after the mid-point of the frame.
- Brooks has scored in double figures in 17 games this year and in three consecutive games finishing with 14 points Sunday.
- Junior Melissa Wolff scored in double figures for the ninth time this season with 12 points.
- Jessica Jackson had her 14th game of the season in double figures with 11 points, nine in the second half.