FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Sophomore Jessica Jackson tied her season-high with 23 points as the Arkansas women’s basketball team dropped a close contest to No. 13/15 Kentucky on Thursday night at Bud Walton Arena.
With the loss, the Razorbacks fall to 16-11 on the season and 6-9 in conference play, while the Wildcats improve to 20-8 overall and 9-6 in SEC competition.
Jackson shot 8-of-25 from the field and 5-of-11 from three-point range to finish with 23 points. The sophomore’s five triples tie her career-high and she has now scored in double figures in 19 games this season.
Melissa Wolff snagged double digit rebounds (12) for the ninth time this year, to go with eight points and four helpers. Arkansas’ two seniors, Calli Berna and Jhasmin Bowen were honored in a pregame ceremony and turned in a pair of solid performances. Berna tallied eight points and a pair of assists, while Bowen notched five points and five boards in 21 minutes of action.
Melissa Wolff got things started with a put-back layup to give the Razorbacks a quick 2-0 lead less than 30 seconds into the game. Kentucky responded in a big way with a 13-0 run to grab a 13-2 advantage with 14:34 left in the opening period.
A Jessica Jackson triple snapped the UK scoring spurt (13-5; 13:35), but the Wildcats continued to pour it on, using a 13-4 run to jump out to a 26-9 lead with less than six minutes to go in the first half.
Arkansas wouldn’t go away and closed the half on a 15-4 run, highlighted by 10 points from Jackson, over the final 5:20 to cut the Kentucky lead down to 30-24 heading into the locker room at half.
Jackson played the entire half and poured in 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 from long range. Wolff added five points and snagged five boards to go with a pair of assists in the opening stanza.
A three-pointer from Berna just twenty seconds into the second half cut the UK lead down to three points (30-27). Over the next 14 minutes, Kentucky would outscore the Razorbacks 22-14 and push their lead to 11 points (52-41) with 5:23 left in regulation.
As they had done all night, Dykes and his Arkansas team refused to fold and employed a 10-0 run, capped by an old-fashioned three-point play from Bowen, to make the score 52-51 with 1:41 remaining.
The Razorbacks were unable to cash in on any of their final six possessions and fell to the No. 13/15 Wildcats by the final score of 56-51.
The Razorbacks will head to Columbia, Mo. for their regular season finale on Sunday, March 1. Tip from Mizzou Arena is set for 2 p.m. on SEC Network+.
For more information on Arkansas women’s basketball, follow @RazorbackWBB on Twitter.
POSTGAME NOTES (No. 13/15 Kentucky)
- Seniors Jhasmin Bowen and Calli Berna played their final game in Bud Walton Arena tonight. Arriving in Fayetteville in 2011, the duo has helped the Razorbacks to a 79-44 mark (and counting) in four seasons, including a trip to the 2012 NCAA Tournament and the 2013 WNIT.
- Sophomore Jessica Jackson scored double figure points in the first half of an SEC contest for the fourth time this season.
- Jackson tied her season-high with 23 points.
- Jackson tied her career-high with five three-point makes on the night.
- Melissa Wolff tallied double figure rebounds for the ninth time this season.
- Arkansas forced UK into 16 turnovers and scored 11 points off of those miscues.
@CoachJimmyDykes Postgame Sound
Thoughts on His Team’s Performance
“I’m proud of the way that we fought back tonight. I kept telling our girls that we are too tough, too resilient. Kentucky is really good, they are ranked No. 13 for a reason. We could have very easily won the ball game, but it’s hard to get things accomplished when you shoot 19-of-71.”
On Taking 25 Three-Point Field Goals
“We had a hard time getting to the lane. Kentucky’s very quick and athletic defensively, so we couldn’t drive the ball effectively like we wanted to. We were trying to find a way to get the ball into the basket, and when you’re struggling for so long, you’re bound to take that many shots from behind the arc. We took almost 50 shots from inside the arc as well, but we weren’t able to get to the free throw line enough tonight.”
On His Seniors
“I’m very proud of the way they fought back. I’m proud of the way Jhasmin (Bowen) was able come back onto the court after rolling her ankle the way she did. She had a very big three-point play for us that brought us within one. I’m very disappointed that we weren’t able to win this game tonight for our seniors. Those two kids are warriors, they play their hearts outs every night and they never give in.”
On Jessica Jackson’s 23-Point Performance
“She is putting the work in. She has been doing well in our individual work outs and she is understanding with it takes to be great in this league. She shot the ball very well from three tonight, but she didn’t perform well with two-point shots. We have to make shots from the two-point area to be a good ball club, and tonight we didn’t do it.”