FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas sophomore Sarah Watkins scored 21 points but the Razorbacks’ last second effort was not enough for the win in Bud Walton Arena Sunday.
Arkansas (15-4, 3-4 SEC) fell to a young but talented Ole Miss (9-9, 2-5 SEC) team, 69-65.
Junior Lyndsay Harris fed Ashley Daniels for a layup with one minute on the clock with a bucket that brought Arkansas within two, 65-67.
Watkins was forced to foul and Ole Miss missed the bonus giving the Razorbacks a chance with the clock winding down. With :08 seconds remaining, the Rebels accidently fouled the Razorbacks but Arkansas missed the first bonus shot.
Razorback head coach Tom Collen told the shooter to intentionally miss the second as Arkansas planned for the rebound and the quick score to tie or win the game.
The intentional miss glanced off the right side of the back board away from the Razorbacks who had set up left. The Ole Miss rebound sealed the win for the Rebels.
"That was a disappointing loss," Collen said. "Ole Miss’ guard play was tremendous and they played with a lot of poise and were patient down the stretch. I thought the win was within our grasp at several points of the game but we didn’t take advantage of our chances."
Arkansas opened the game on fire opening a 12-2 lead with aggressive defense and a smoothing full court press. The Razorbacks forced four steals out of the press and seemed to be comfortable with the lead.
Ole Miss rallied however, and got back into the game quickly behind 10 first-half points from freshman Valencia McFarland.
The Razorbacks started the game going 3-for-3 from the floor but suffered through a five-minute scoring slump as they went 3-for-11 heading into the final media timeout of the first half.
Ole Miss scored the final five points of the half but the Razorbacks clung to a two-point, 32-30, lead at the break. Watkins led all scorers at that point with 13 points in what was a balanced effort by Arkansas for the first 20 minutes.
The Razorbacks went 4-for-6 to open the second half growing their lead to four but the Rebels just wouldn’t go away. They tied the game at 48-all at the 11:35 mark and Arkansas went cold from the floor in the middle of the second frame.
Ole Miss stretched the lead to seven twice in the second half before Harris was finally able to shake free of the blanket that the Rebels had on her. Harris got a three with 2:37 to play allowing Arkansas to get within three. She hit another with 1:24 but couldn’t break away for a final shot.
Arkansas shot 46.6% for the game behind Watkins’ 21 points, four boards, four assists and two blocked shots. Daniels and junior C’eira Ricketts finished with 12 each and Harris had nine in the game. Daniels led Arkansas with seven rebounds.
The Razorbacks are on the road Thursday traveling to LSU. The Tigers are a tough match-up whether at home or away and this is the first of two meetings between these teams.