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CANCUN, Mexico — Sophomore Lyndsay Harris posted a career-best 26 points behind an 8-of-12 three-point shooting performance leading the University of Arkansas to a win over Iona at the Caribbean Challenge in Cancun, Mexico, Thursday.
Harris had eight points in the first half but turned it up leading Arkansas (3-1) to a come-from-behind, 66-60, win over the Gaels (2-3).
“We consider Lyndsay our best shooter and you know when you start banking them in you’re on a roll,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “I think we’re fortunate to have different weapons, players who can all step up, and we can be a great team when they all play well. Lyndsay had a good game. I thought C’eira (Ricketts) had a good game as well. She played well and didn’t turn the ball over.”
Harris’ performance was just short of record-setting. Her 26 points was a career-best as was her eight threes. She was just one three-pointer shy of the school record of nine held by Wendi Willits in 1999. Arkansas was 11-of-19 from beyond the arc, four short of the team record.
In addition to Harris, Arkansas got 11 points from sophomore Ashley Daniels and a quiet 10 from sophomore C’eira Ricketts. Daniels had nine boards and freshman Sarah Watkins added six for Arkansas.
Iona’s Anna McLean had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds as the Gaels out-boarded Arkansas 39-29 including 17 offensive rebounds for the game.
The other interesting number for game was the free throws. The Razorbacks sent Iona to the line 26 times where the Gaels hit 16 bonus shots. Arkansas was 5-for-7 for the game with just one attempt in the first half, something that hurt Iona down the stretch.
The Razorbacks trailed by eight, 36-28, at the half and looked out of sorts offensively. The halftime story was rebounds. Iona had out-boarded Arkansas 21-12 at the break and was able to control the tempo of the game. Arkansas had also sent the Gaels to the charity strip 11 times where Iona picked up six points.
Arkansas trailed by as many as 11 but put together a 9-0 run to close the gap late in the first frame. Iona had a run of its own and controlled the game at the break.
Iona’s lead continued to grow in the second half again increasing to 11, 28-39. Harris, however, found her groove with her first three of the half, the third of the game, at the 18:28 mark. She followed with a 12-2 run of her own, all threes, tying the game at the 15:28 mark when she slipped around the defense on the right side for the bucket.
Freshman Dominique Robinson added a trey of her own and the Razorbacks reclaimed the lead with 14:12 to play and Arkansas would not look back.
It was Arkansas’ turn to stretch the lead as they went up by nine, 53-44. The Razorbacks increased the defensive pressure forcing 29 turnovers by the Gaels. The Arkansas full court press was effective as was the paint presence of Daniels.
The Gaels made several substitutions and decided to run with Arkansas, something that gave the Razorbacks some trouble as they continued to send Iona to the line. Arkansas’ lead dwindled until the game was tied at 56 with just under four minutes to play.
Back-to-back turn-around jumpers from Ricketts gave the lead back to Arkansas but Iona came within one, 60-59, on a shot from McLean.
A 6-1 run from Arkansas down the stretch sealed the Razorback win over the Gaels. Iona struggled late and tried to foul Arkansas to stop the clock but could not reach the shooting foul minimum before time ran out.
The Razorbacks continue play at the Caribbean Challenge Friday facing Western Kentucky in a 4 p.m. game.
“Every game is going to be a battle and Western Kentucky is no different,” Collen said. “We need to get some rest and take care of business tomorrow.”