FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas women’s basketball team got their 2014-15 season off to a winning start, defeating Nicholls 63-52 on Friday afternoon inside Bud Walton Arena. The Razorbacks overcame a slow first half and a halftime deficit with a strong second half to take the win and give first-year head coach Jimmy Dykes a victory in his coaching debut.
Leading the attack for the Razorbacks was junior Melissa Wolff who posted her third career double-double, scoring 17 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Five of her rebounds came on the offensive end. As a team, Arkansas pulled down 23 offensive rebounds, leading to 19 second-chance points.
Senior Jhasmin Bowen was the second Razorback to post a double-double as she tallied 12 points to go along with 10 boards.
Arkansas had a total of four players score in double figures as sophomores Kelsey Brooks posted 11 and Jessica Jackson poured in 12. Senior Calli Berna nearly made it five Razorbacks in double figures as she scored nine points and also pulled down eight rebounds.
Arkansas got off to a slow start in the first 20 minutes, shooting 23.3 percent from the field, committing 12 turnovers, and trailing 22-21 at the break.
The Razorbacks turned it around in the second half as they started the second 20 minutes on an 11-0 run to take the lead for good. In the second half, Arkansas shot 50 percent from the field en route to scoring 42 points.
Defensively, the Razorbacks held steady all game, allowing Nicholls to shoot just 33.9 percent from the field. Arkansas fouled only 13 times throughout the game, leading to only four free throw attempts for Nicholls. On the glass, the Hogs doubled up the Colonels, outrebounding them 53-26.
The key play came with 3:40 left in the game as Arkansas led 56-50. Nicholls had a chance to cut into the lead but Arkansas forced an air ball and came right back with a Wolff layup to go up by eight. A layup by Bowen and a three by Berna on the following possessions sealed the win as Arkansas held Nicholls scoreless for the final 3:06.
Jenny Nash paced the Nicholls offense as she scored 15 points.
The Razorbacks will be back in action at home in Bud Walton Arena Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. to battle Savannah State. Tickets are available for Sunday’s game.
“It’s great to win that first game. I didn’t come here to win just one game though, I came to build a program. So whether we won or lost today, didn’t really concern me in terms of my big picture and my purpose for being here. It’s great to win that first one, but now we’ll go right back upstairs and continue to build this program. We beat a good basketball team today. . Overall, I love our effort, I love our togetherness, we never broke apart, we never separated when we could have. It was great to have a first win as a head coach.” – Head Coach Jimmy Dykes
POST GAME NOTES
– Jimmy Dykes is 1-0 as a head coach
– Arkansas is 31-8 all-time in season openers
– Arkansas moves to 131-30 all-time in the month of November.
– Arkansas is 2-0 all-time against Nicholls
– Junior Melissa Wolff posted her third career double-double, scoring 17 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Arkansas’ record when she has a double-double is 3-0. Both 17 points and 13 rebounds are career highs for Wolff.
– Senior Jhasmin Bowen posted her fourth career double-double, scoring 12 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Arkansas’ record when she has a double-double is 4-0.
– Arkansas had two players in double digit rebounding (Wolff and Bowen), marking the first time since Feb. 2, 2014, vs. Auburn Arkansas had two in double digits.
– Four players scored in double figures (Wolff, Bowen, Jackson, Brooks). The last time @RazorbackWBB had four double-figure scorers was vs. Alabama on Feb. 13, 2014 (Brooks, Jackson, Adams, Bowen).
– Arkansas set a new Elementary Day attendance record as 4,596 fans saw the Razorbacks improve to 5-0 when playing on Elementary Day.
– Arkanas opened the second half on an 11-0 run and held Nicholls scoreless for the final 3:06 of the game.
– @RazorbackWBB had 53 rebounds. The last time @RazorbackWBB had 50 plus rebounds was against Binghamton, Nov. 30, 2013.
– Arkansas hosts Savannah State Sunday at 1 p.m. in the first game of a double header with @RazorbackMBB (who plays at 4 p.m.)
For more information on Arkansas women’s basketball, follow @RazorbackWBB on Twitter.