FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Freshman guard Ceira Ricketts scored career high 19 points and came within a rebound of posting her second double-double of the season in the Razorbacks’ 66-57, come from behind victory over the Big Green of Dartmouth.
The Razorbacks led early, but fell behind to the defense-minded Big Green late in the first half.
“This was a huge win for us,” University of Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “For a young team, pressed to the bitter end, to find a way to win. This was a gritty, gritty effort.”
Freshman Lyndsay Harris’ three-point basket with 3:58 remaining finally erased Dartmouth’s lead and gave the Razorbacks their first tie of the second half, 55-55. After a rebound and stick back on Ayana Brereton’s only goal of the night for the lead, Harris scored again to help salt away the win.
“Thank God for those two freshman,” Collen said. “And then our seniors made big plays at the end.”
Harris scored 16 for the night, and senior Whitney Jones had eight points, six boards and a career-high five blocked shots.
The Razorbacks were cold to start the second half of play, not scoring until Ricketts sunk a three with 17:43 left the game, cutting Dartmouth’s lead to 33-30.
Dartmouth looked to pull away, leading 43-36 at the 13:12 mark. Meghan McFee’s free throws made it a nine point deficit for the Razorbacks, whose offensive struggles continued, the team shooting a meager 34.4 percent from the field on the night.
“They wore us down in the last five minutes,” Dartmouth head coach Chris Wielgus. “We’ve been road warriors this year, and we’ve faced some tough teams this season.”
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Dartmouth film the last nine days and every night I had a nightmare that we were losing,” Collen said. “It unfolded just the way it did in my nightmare. They are a tough team and will give the Ivy League a run this year.”
Ricketts kept her team in the game, the Big Green lead down to 45-40 with 11:30 remaining. After an offensive drought by both teams, Whitney Jones drilled a three from the corner to whittle Dartmouth’s lead to two at 9:49 left in the game.
The contest stayed close, the Razorbacks only down 50-49 after a Ricketts field goal, steal and two free throws .
The game was the first for Arkansas in the past nine days. The Razorbacks were playing without junior post Ashley McCray, who had gone home for a family funeral. Arkansas’ Jones suffered a sprained ankle that she was able to continue playing on in the first half, but the Razorbacks lost back-up guard Charity Ford midway through the second half with a leg injury. She was unable to return, and was expected to have x-rays Friday.
The Razorbacks got off to a hot start, taking a 12-3 lead powered by a 6-0 run early in the first half. However, the
Big Green clawed its way back, closing the lead to 18-17 on a run 12-4 of its own.
Dartmouth took a 20-18 lead on a trio of free throws by Koren Schram with 7:49 left in the first half, the Big Green’s first lead since opening the game 2-0. Schram’s shots from the line kick started the visitors and they took a four point lead, 27-23 with 4:05 remaining before halftime. Schram was perfect in the first half for the Big Green, shooting six of six from the field and five of five at the line to give her 13 points going into the locker room.
Unable to retake the lead from an increasingly confident Dartmouth, the Razorbacks trailed 27-29 as the teams headed into the locker rooms. Led by Jones and Harris, each with six points in the first half, the Razorbacks only managed to shoot 30.3 percent as a team in the first 20 minutes.
On Sunday, the Razorbacks welcome the Missouri Tigers to Bud Walton Arena for a 2 p.m. tipoff. For updated results and complete coverage of Arkansas women’s basketball, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.