FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas junior Ashley Daniels scored a career-best 22 points and tied her career-best with 11 rebounds but the Razorbacks couldn’t overcome a long scoring drought falling to Auburn, 64-59, in Southeastern Conference action in Bud Walton Arena Sunday.
Arkansas (16-8, 4-8 SEC) had a pair of players in Daniels and sophomore Sarah Watkins in double digits with Watkins scoring 12 and pulling in 10 boards. Auburn (14-11, 7-5) countered with 19 from Alli Smalley and 12 from freshman Courtney Strain in the win.
"It’s disappointing," said Arkansas head coach Tom Collen. "We haven’t shot the ball very well for a while now. We are trying to find a way to regain that energy and get the momentum back.
"Ashley was terrific tonight," Collen continued. "We needed her to do that. She started the game strong and just played well for 40 minutes."
"I felt like I have not played as well as a can lately," Daniels said. "My team needs me to come out and score and rebound as much as I can. I played aggressively and I ran the floor well tonight.
"The loss is very frustrating," Daniels added. "It’s four in a row but we are not going to give up. We are going to hold our heads up and come to practice tomorrow and work hard."
Auburn’s defense did a good job on the Razorbacks’ leading scorers in juniors C’eira Ricketts and Lyndsay Harris and on Watkins early.
The trio finished the game a combined 8-for-39 with just 26 points and 19 rebounds for the game.
The Razorbacks used a 13-5 run over the last 4:07 of the first half, taking a one-point, 29-28, lead into the break.
Arkansas’ big three, Watkins, Ricketts and Harris, had just 10 points between them at the break but Watkins hit the big three that gave the Razorbacks the lead after the first 20 minutes of play.
Daniels was 6-for-6 in the first half led all scorers with 14 at the break, just three shy of her career best at that point.
The second half was a back-and-forth battle with four ties in the first 10 minutes of play but Arkansas suffered through a five-plus minute stretch without a field goal. That lack of scoring allowed Auburn to build momentum and a seven point lead that was difficult to overcome.
Arkansas scratched back within three twice with under two minutes to play but was forced to foul with the clock running out. Auburn hit the bonus shots securing the win.
As a team, Arkansas was 22-for-63 from the floor for 34.9 percent. Arkansas out-rebounded Auburn, 43-40 and forced 13 Tiger turnovers. The Razorbacks dominated play in the paint, outscoring Auburn 38-12 but Auburn’s bench was better, out-doing Arkansas 16-9 for the game.
Collen hosts a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Monday at the Clarion Inn in Fayetteville. Tickets are available at the event. Arkansas travels to Ole Miss Thursday, Feb. 17, with four regular season SEC games remaining this year.