LEXINGTON, Ky. — Jessica Jackson scored a game-high 23 points and led the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team (15-5, 2-5 SEC) to a first-half lead, but No. 9/8 Kentucky (16-4, 4-3 SEC) mounted a comeback in the second half and claimed a 68-58 win at Memorial Coliseum, in Lexington, Ky., on Sunday.
Kentucky came out clicking in the game, opening with 63 percent shooting–including 67 percent from three-point range–to take a 12-7 lead by the first media timeout. Arkansas responded with an 8-0 run, however, and tied the game at 12-all with 11:14 to play in the half. Things remained tight the rest of the way, as the Wildcats cooled off and the Razorbacks began to heat up. Trading baskets and leads, UA remained on top heading into the break with a 32-31 lead.
Jackson fueled a 10-0 run early in the second half to give Arkansas its largest lead of the game at 44-34 with 17:11 to play, as the freshman upped her total to 17 points on 4-for-5 three-point shooting. The Wildcats responded, however, answering with an 11-2 stretch of their own and then following up late with a 9-0 run to regain a 56-50 lead with 7:14. The Wildcats back in control, Arkansas was never able to get back into the lead and ultimately fell 68-58.
Jackson led all scorers with 23 points on 53.8 percent shooting, including 57 percent from distance. The freshman reached double-digit scoring for the 18th time in 20 games this season and scored 20+ points for the third straight game. The Razorbacks as a group shot 42 percent from the floor. Keira Peak and Jhasmin Bowen joined Jackson in double digits, as Bowen had 13 points and five rebounds, while Peak contributed 10 points and four rebounds.
Turning Pointâ€¨ Jessica Jackson led the charge out of halftime and helped inspire a 10-0 run early in the second half to give Arkansas its largest lead of the game at 44-34 with 17:11 to play. But the Wildcats responded, answering with an 11-2 run of their own and then would later follow up with another 9-0 run to regain a 56-50 lead with 7:14 to go.
Player of the Gameâ€¨ Jessica Jackson led all scorers with 23 points, shooting 7-for-13 from the floor and 57 percent from beyond the arc. Scoring 12 points in the second half alone, the freshman also added five rebounds in the loss. The freshman reached double digits for the 18th time in 20 games this season.
Quoting Coach Tom Collen “The way they talk about playing and the way they’ve had success playing in the past is what they brought out in the second half. It was two completely different styles. In the first half they played us zone the whole time and they let us stay around and we executed and defended pretty well. Then, in the second half I had said in the locker room that they’re not going to continue playing that way. They came out, switched to man-to-man defense, pressured us and were all over. The bottom line was, they take you out of offense and they’ve done that to every team in this league when they play pressure. We made some plays, but we didn’t make enough plays.”
Quick Hits â€¨ – Arkansas ranks first in the SEC and second in the NCAA for scoring defense (49.4 ppg), which showed Sunday as the Razorbacks held the Wildcats well below their average at 68 points. The Wildcats came in averaging 87 points per game. The Razorbacks have held 10 teams to season-low totals this season.
– Arkansas is now 14-2 his season when leading at halftime, while Kentucky improved to 3-3 when trailing at the break. The Razorbacks held a 32-31 lead over the Wildcats at half.
– Arkansas shot 42 percent in the loss to Kentucky, going 50 percent from both the floor and beyond the arc in the first half. The Razorbacks have shot better than 40 percent in 13 games this season. Still 10 guaranteed games remaining this season, UA tied its mark of doing so 13 times in 32 games last season.
– The last time Arkansas defeated a ranked team on the road was in a 72-71 overtime victory at No. 6/7 Tennessee on Feb. 23, 2012. The Razorbacks travel next to face No. 11/12 Tennessee on Thursday.
– Jessica Jackson has reached double-digit scoring in 18 of 20 games this season. The freshman had a season-best stretch of 10 straight games.
– With 10 points, Keira Peak reached double digits for the third time in the last four games. The team’s lone senior, Peak also added four rebounds.
– With 13 points, Jhasmin Bowen scored in double figures for a second straight game. The junior added five rebounds and four steals defensively.
– Tom Collen is 344-154 overall in 16 seasons as a head coach and 127-84 in seven years at Arkansas.
– Arkansas is now 13-18 all-time against Kentucky, including a 3-12 record in Lexington.
@RazorbackWBB Postgame Tweetables (140 Characters Or Less) – .@jessjack_00 has scored 20+ points six times this season, including the last three straight games. Jess and @RazorbackWBB travel to Tennessee on Thursday.
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Up Next Arkansas remains on the road and travels next to Knoxville, Tenn., for a showdown with No. 11/12 Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena on Jan. 30. Opening tip is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday.
Download: Game 20 Kentucky.pdf