FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team had three players in double-figures led by 15 from sophomore Sarah Watkins in a 72-53 loss to No. 5 Tennessee Sunday.
Watkins’ 15 paired with 12 each from juniors Lyndsay Harris and C’eira Ricketts but Arkansas struggled on the boards and dropped the contest in front of a season-best 6,149 fans in Bud Walton Arena.
"Tennessee is a great team," Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. "They have so many weapons and are as deep as any team we face. I’m disappointed with the loss but I thought we played well at times."
Arkansas (16-5, 4-5 SEC) went on an 8-2 run to start the second half and closed within four, 37-41, at the 15:11 mark. The scoring spurt was punctuated by a tough three from Watkins who had to catch a ball at her feet. She drained the three and Harris followed with one of her two threes on the next possession.
Tennessee (21-2, 9-0 SEC) threw the ball away, one of their 17 turnovers, and then fouled Watkins who hit both bonus shots. Watkins was 6-for-7 from the line.
The miscues prompted a Tennessee timeout out of which the Lady Vols emerged to take control of the game.
Arkansas shot 33.9 percent from the floor going 19-for-56 and finished 10-for-11 from the line but a 5-for-22 performance from three-point range and a 42-23 rebounding differential proved difficult to overcome.
The Lady Vols were paced by Morrrilton, Ark., Shekinna Stricklen who posted 26 points as one of four Lady Vols in double-figures. Tennessee shot 47.5 percent for the game, was 9-for-19 from three point range and 7-for-8 from the line.
Arkansas had a solid first half and challenged Tennessee early in the period but the Lady Vols put together a 12-4 run that allowed them to gain control of the tempo. The Lady Vols had a pair of players in double figures at the break and opened up a big rebounding margin, 20-13.
The Razorbacks return to action Thursday at Georgia. The game is televised by CSS.