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Offensive surge carries Razorbacks past North Dakota

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Offensive surge carries Razorbacks past North Dakota

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Senior Whitney Jones scored a career-high tying 22 points with 10 rebounds as the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team used a pair of power streaks to defeat North Dakota, 85-73 at Bud Walton Arena.

Arkansas, 8-2, is off for the next nine days for fall final exams. The loss drops North Dakota to 3-6.

“We feel good about being 8-2 on the season,” UA head coach Tom Collen said. “But we are physically and mentally fatigued, and it showed. Our minds weren’t in the game for the whole 40 minutes.”

A back and forth first half ended with a 12-2 run by Arkansas to take a 39-31 halftime lead.

Arkansas blew the game open with a 15-0 run to start the second half. Jones’ two quick field goals in the opening minute of the second half. Jones led all Razorbacks in points scored with 22, a season high. At the end of the run, the Razorbacks had their biggest lead of the game, leading 53-31 over the Fighting Sioux.

However, inconsistency haunted the Razorbacks, and as their own run ended, the Fighting Sioux heated up, going on a 15-0 run over the next three minutes and cutting the Razorbacks lead to seven.

“It was a little feast and famine with our press tonight,” Collen said. “We did a great job on the opening of the second half, but then we relaxed and let them get some easy shots.”

Arkansas regained a double digit lead on a layup by Ashley Daniels with 10:06 left in the second half, and was aided in both halves by North Dakota’s turnovers. The Fighting Sioux had 31 turnovers in the game, the most of any of the Razorbacks’ opponents this year and the Razorbacks were able to score exactly 31 points off the turnovers.

“Thirty-one turnovers – that killed us,” North Dakota head coach Gene Roebuck said. “Arkansas has got a lot of weapons, and we can’t give them that many chances.”

Once again, the Razorbacks built a run, this time outscoring North Dakota 10-4 over three minutes and this time, they would not relinquish control, riding the streak to their eighth victory of the season.

Ricketts started the first half of the contest by connecting on a long jumper on the Razorbacks’ first possession of the game. Arkansas failed to score on its next three possessions, though, before Lyndsay Harris sank a three with 17:25 left in the half, tying the game at five.

Offense continued to be sporadic for the Razorbacks, who shot 41.9 percent in the half, but never scored on back-to-back possessions. The Fighting Sioux shut down the Arkansas offense completely with 14:03 left on the clock, the home team going without a field goal for 3:36, and the visitors from the north took a 12-17 lead.

Racking up 11 fouls also hurt the Razorbacks in the opening half. North Dakota shot 85.7 percent from the line on, adding 12 points. Fouls aside, the two teams were evenly matched in the first 20 minutes, the Razorbacks holding a 11 to 12 edge in turnovers and a five to three edge in steals.

The defense’s consistent pressure kept the game under control for Arkansas, holding North Dakota to 32.1 percent shooting in the first half.

Back and forth throughout the first half, Arkansas pulled to its largest lead as the clock wound down, going on a 12-2 run and taking a 39-31 lead into the locker room.

The Razorbacks will be back on the court Dec. 18 when they host Dartmouth at 7 p.m. For complete coverage of Arkansas women’s basketball, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)