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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Freshman Lyndsay Harris and senior Ayana Brereton combined for seven of a season-high tying 11 three-pointers as the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team scored a non-conference win over Western Illinois, 70-53, in Bud Walton Arena Monday.
Arkansas improved to 10-3 on the year while the Westerwinds fell to 2-10 overall. The Razorbacks had four players in double-figures paced by Harris with 16 points. Brereton and Ceira Ricketts had 14 apiece and Whitney Jones added 10 for Arkansas in the win.
“I’m just happy to have the win,” UA head coach Tom Collen said. “There are certain times of the year you don’t expect to be at your peak, and coming out of Christmas break is one of those times.”
After a slow first-half finish, the Razorbacks came out of the locker room and pushed the tempo of the game in the opening minutes of the second stanza.
Arkansas stretched out an 11-point lead half way through the second half thanks to a tough full court press and an 11-1 run fueled by treys from Harris and Brereton.
“Coach has a lot of confidence in us on the perimeter, and that gives us a lot of confidence in our shots,” Harris said. “It was important for our shooter to hit shots tonight, especially when they started to stop our penetration.”
Harris had four threes while Brereton was a perfect three-of-three for the night.
“Coach has us looking to hit the threes on the penetrate and kick,” Brereton said.
Arkansas won the opening tip and scored the game’s first points with a trey from Brereton but the fast start settled into a defensive battle between the teams.
The Razorbacks pressed early and substituted frequently trying to find the right combination against the Westerwinds’ methodical pace. Arkansas held a 10-5 lead at the first media timeout.
WIU closed the gap at the mid-point of the half thanks, in part, to some unforced errors by the Razorbacks. Arkansas departed from its run-and-gun style allowing the Westerwinds to control the tempo at that point of the game.
WIU took the lead at the 11:09 mark with a three-pointer by Anneloes Kodde but it seemed to serve as a wake-up call to the Razorbacks. Arkansas made back-to-back twos but WIU would not go away.
The Razorbacks won the first half on hustle, chasing down lose balls and out-rebounding WIU. Arkansas wanted the three-ball to be its signature tossing up 16 attempts but the Razorbacks would need the blue-collar scoring from the paint with 12 first-half points in the lane.
Brereton paced Arkansas and was the only player in double-figures with 11 first-half points.
The Razorbacks return to the court hosting Stetson in a noon contest Wednesday, Dec. 31, in Bud Walton Arena. For more information about the Razorback women’s basketball team, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.