KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Effort, attitude and three-point shooting. Arkansas had them all but it wasn’t enough to lift the Razorbacks over No. 5 Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., 57-74, Thursday.
Arkansas (9-13, 1-8 SEC) got 18 points from senior Charity Ford but Tennessee (20-2, 9-1 SEC) put together a scoring spurt in the middle of the second half and was able to maintain a double-digit lead for much of the final period for the win.
“We got better tonight,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “We won the battle of effort and that’s a big accomplishment. Tennessee is a team that always plays hard and I think that’s a step in the right direction for us. As long as we continue to battle and get better, we’ll win some games.”
Ford led the Razorbacks with 18 and Arkansas got 13 points from sophomore C’eira Ricketts and 12 second-half points from sophomore Lyndsay Harris. Arkansas hit the boards are with seven rebounds each from Ford and junior Skye Rees.
The Razorbacks struggled shooting just over 30 percent for the game on a 23-for-75 performance. They had the advantage from three-point range, 9-4, but Tennessee finished the game shooting 46 percent and got a double-double with 14 points, eight blocks and 17 rebounds from Kelley Cain in the win.
The first half of the game was a track meet and a wrestling match all in one with Tennessee taking a 31-23 lead into the locker room. Despite the Lady Vol lead, the Razorbacks were never out of the game and had several advantages including five three-pointers. Arkansas also stayed close on the glass trialing 21-24.
The game opened with the first five points from Ford who finished the half with a Razorback-best 10 points at the break. Ricketts had seven but Arkansas’ shooting percentage was just 26.5 percent through the first 20 minutes of play.
Tennessee, meanwhile, shot nearly 42 percent in the opening stanza with 12 points from Alyssia Brewer. Tennessee had a clear advantage in the paint out-scoring Arkansas 22-4 in the orange.
The Razorbacks return to Fayetteville hosting #25 Kentucky Sunday at 2 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena.