FAYETTEVILLE — Kelsey Brooks led four Razorbacks in double-digit scoring, as the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team (17-8, 4-8 SEC) scored an SEC season-high 75 points in a 75-55 victory over Alabama (11-13, 4-7 SEC) at Bud Walton Arena on Thursday.
Brooks was an efficient 7-for-11 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from three-point range in what was a career night for the freshman. Fellow newcomers Jessica Jackson and McKenzie Adams also scored in double figures, as Jackson racked up 15 points and Adams had 11 points. Jhasmin Bowen finished with 10 points.
Arkansas shot 48.1 percent in the win, which was an SEC season-high total. The 20-point win also marked the largest margin of victory for the Razorbacks since beating Ole Miss at home by 41 points last season on March 3, 2013.
The Razorbacks jumped out to a 17-6 lead by the 11:21 mark of the first half shooting 55 percent from the field, including 3-for-3 from three-point range. Defensively Arkansas was just as impressive, clamping down and holding the Crimson Tide to just 15 percent (2-13 FG). Upholding 50 percent shooting, the Razorbacks kept the Crimson Tide at bay and extended their lead to 24-11 with less than eight minutes to go in the half. Six different Razorbacks scored at least a basket, led by Brooks’ seven points and Bowen’ssix points on 4-for-4 free-throw shooting. Arkansas forced 15 turnovers and had nine steals in the half, which they translated into 17 points off mistakes. A quick 8-0 run in just over a minute by Alabama pulled the game back to within 25-19 with 6:12 to play in the half. Daisha Simmons and Shafontaye Myers each had six points to lead the charge from the Crimson Tide. Arkansas held an 18-to-14 advantage in rebounds as well as a 10-to-4 edge for points in the paint. The bench of Arkansas outscored the reserves of Alabama 16-to-4 in the first half.
Arkansas came out firing with a quick 8-0 run over 1:14 to open the second half to take a 45-29 lead, as Jackson reached double-digit scoring at 10 points. Alabama was 0-for-5 over the stretch, as the Razorback defense continued to hassle the Crimson Tide and hold them at 28 percent shooting. Alabama finished shooting just 34 percent on the night. The Razorbacks forced 25 turnovers in the game while allowing just 18 field goals. Feeding off its defense, Arkansas picked up the pace offensively in the second half as fellow freshmen Jackson and Adamsjoined Brooks in double figures. The Razorbacks shot 50 percent in the second half, which coupled with 46.2 percent shooting from the first half to give the team an SEC season-high 48.1 percent performance on the night.
QUOTING COACH COLLEN “It’s always nice when you can run out to a 20-point lead and relax a little bit and play other players. The key was really the way we came out of the locker room and got hot from the beginning of the second half. We put the game away early right there and probably relaxed a little bit. We’ve been in so many close games and the last game we were on the opposite end of this. It was good for our players and they needed to get their confidence back.”
TURNING POINT Arkansas came out of halftime firing, putting together a quick 8-0 run over 1:14 to open the second half with a 45-29 lead. Alabama was held to 0-for-5 shooting over the stretch, as the run set the tone for the remainder of the game and put the Crimson Tide away early.
QUICK HITS – Kelsey Brooks finished with a career-high 20 points on 58.3 percent shooting (7-12 FG), including 3-for-4 from three-point range. The freshman scored 17 points against Sam Houston State back in the season opener Nov. 8, 2013.
– Brooks marked the second time Arkansas’ leading scorer came off the bench. The Razorbacks are 2-0 in those games.
– Jessica Jackson finished with 15 points, six rebound and three blocks. Jackson saw her streak of consecutive double-digit games end at six against South Carolina, but started a new one against Alabama. The freshman has reached double figures in 22 of 25 games this season, including 13+ points in 14 of the last 16 contests.
– McKenzie Adams reached double figures for the 11th time this season, including two of her last three contests. The freshman scored 11 points with 4-for-8 shooting, including going 3-for-4 from distance.
– Jhasmin Bowen reached double-digit scoring for the 11th time this season, recording 10 points and two steals.
– Calli Berna recored nine points points, two steals and five assists. The junior bumped her season assist total to 175 and moved closer to breaking the program’s class record for most assists by a junior in a season. Amy Wright had 198 assists as a junior. Averaging 7.1 assists per game and with eight games left, Berna is on pace to erasing Wright’s mark for her own.
– Berna now has 471 career assists, which ranks fifth all-time in program history.
– Four Razorbacks reached double figures, marking the first time since the team’s road game at Tennessee on Jan. 30, 2014.
– Nine different Razorbacks scored at least two points in the win.
– Arkansas scored an SEC season-high 75 points and shot 48.1 percent in the win, which was also an SEC season-high mark. The Razorbacks are 9-3 this season when shooting 40-49 percent.
– Arkansas scored 70+ points for the first time since pouring in 100 points in a home win over Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 28, 2013. Season-high for SEC play is 69 points.
– The 20-point win also marked the largest margin of victory for the Razorbacks since beating Ole Miss at home by 41 points last season on March 3, 2013.
– Shot 50 percent from three-point range (an SEC season-high). It was the first time the Razorbacks shot 50+ percent from distance since shooting 58.8 percent in a home win against Tennessee Tech on Dec. 20, 2013.
– Arkansas forced Alabama into 25 turnovers while allowing just 18 field goals. The Razorbacks have held 16 of 24 opponents this season to more turnovers than field goals.
– Arkansas recorded 11 steals in the game. The Razorbacks also forced Alabama into 25 turnovers. Over its last four games, the Razorbacks have recorded a combined 41 steals.
– The Crimson Tide came in averaging 65.1 points per game, but the Razorbacks allowed 55 points in the win. Arkansas is first in the SEC and second in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing opponents an average of just 52.0 points per game this season.
– Arkansas is 14-2 this season when scoring more three-pointers than its opponent.
– Arkansas is now 4-7 this season when out-rebounded by its opponents. Arkansas had 28 rebounds, while Alabama had 38.
– Arkansas is now 15-1 this season when its bench outscores its opponents’ reserves. The Razorback bench outscored the Crimson Tide 27-to-8, due in large part to the career-high 20 points from Kelsey Brooks.
– Arkansas is now 16-3 this season when leading at halftime. Arkansas held a 37-26 lead at the break.
– Arkansas is now 13-3 in home games this season, including a 3-3 mark in SEC home contests.
– The Razorbacks improved to 2-4 this season in games played Thursday.
– Tom Collen is 346-157 overall in 16 seasons as a head coach and 129-87 in seven years at Arkansas.
– Arkansas is now 18-14 all-time against Alabama, including a 10-5 record in Fayetteville. Head coach Tom Collen is 8-2 against the Crimson Tide.
POSTGAME TWEETABLES (140 Characters Or Less)
– Come out and support @RazorbackWBB v #16 Vanderbilt on Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. Only two home games left at #BWA! #GoHOGS
– Freshmen @KBrooksie15, @jessjack_00 & @kenziemichelle3 combined for 46 of @RazorbackWBB’s 75 points in its 20pt win over Alabama. #GoHOGS
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UP NEXT The Razorbacks remain home and host Vanderbilt at Bud Walton Arena on Feb. 20. Opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Download: Game 25-Alabama.pdf