FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas senior Whitney Jones broke her career high number of rebounds Sunday, grabbing 14 boards, and freshman Ceira Ricketts contributed a career high 22 points in the Razorbacks’ 56-55 loss to the Missouri Tigers.
Arkansas (9-3) held control of the game until a furious last minute charge by Missouri (6-4).
“When you schedule games, you want to have games that test your team and Missouri certainly was the kind of team we’ll face in conference,” UA head coach Tom Collen said. “I think we showed composure in the last minutes, and if we had just gotten a shot to fall at the right time, we would have been fine.”
The Razorbacks had a season high 24 turnovers on the day, leading to 19 Mizzou points.
“If there was a time that we ‘lost’ the game, it was in the first half, as strange as that sounds,” Collen said. “We had 17 turnovers in the first half. We let them shoot the ball twice as many times as we did. We should have put the game away with the way we were shooting early.”
The Tigers used a 13-4 run in the final four minutes to recover from an eight-point Arkansas lead.
“Arkansas is a very good team, and we feel it is important for us to measure our progress by winning a game at a place like Arkansas,” Missouri head coach Cindy Stein said.
Both teams came out cold in the second half, Missouri scoring the first basket on a Jessra Johnson field goal to tie the score at 26 with 16:51 to go in the game. As in the first half, the Razorbacks and Tigers stayed close with Arkansas getting its largest lead of the game on a jumper by Shanita Arnold with four minutes remaining, giving the Razorbacks a 51-43 lead.
The first half was an even contest as the teams stayed within two possessions of each other, tying on six occasions and exchanging leads eight times during the first 20 minutes. Missouri took a 12-11 lead with 11:51 left in the half and kept its lead until Lyndsay Harris hit a layup to tie the score at 17 at the 6:15 mark.
Ricketts led the Razorbacks in shooting during the first half with 14 points on six for six shooting and Whitney Jones contributed six rebounds.
Although Arkansas shot a solid 52.9 percent in the first 20 minutes, they also racked up 17 first half turnovers, a season high number of turnovers for one half that led to 11 Tiger points.
Missouri tied the score again at 19, when Johnson drilled a field goal with 3:25 left to play before halftime. The teams continued to battle until Ricketts hit a three from the right side with 45 seconds to go in the half, giving the Razorbacks a 24-21 edge. Ricketts added two free throws, giving Arkansas their biggest lead of the half at 26-21.
With 14 seconds left in the first half, Missouri’s Amanda Henneman sunk a shot from beyond the arc to pull Mizzou within two, leaving the Razorbacks with a 26-24 lead at halftime.
The Razorbacks break for the holidays before returning to Bud Walton arena to host Western Illinois on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. For updated results and complete coverage of Arkansas women’s basketball, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.