14-point 1st-half stifles Arkansas

Published: Monday, February 4, 2013
Tom Collen's team fell 47-44 at Mississippi State on Sunday.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Tom Collen's team fell 47-44 at Mississippi State on Sunday.

— Arkansas’ women’s basketball team didn’t give itself an outside chance Sunday.

The Razorbacks were 0 of 10 from behind the three point line, shot 20.8 percent from the field in the opening half and had 20 turnovers in a 47-44 loss to Mississippi State at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Miss.

Mississippi State (10-12, 2-7 SEC) held Arkansas (15-7, 3-6) to a season-low 14 points in the opening half before fighting off a late charge in the second half for its second consecutive victory at home. The Bulldogs ended a three-game losing streak to Arkansas and defeated the Razorbacks at Humphrey Coliseum for the first time since 2007.

“It’s a tough loss on the road,” Arkansas Coach Tom Collen said. “We were not able to take advantage of our opportunities, and we let this one slip away.”

Mississippi State set the tone early, holding Arkansas to two field goals over the first 10 minutes of the game. Candace Foster’s jumper gave the Bulldogs a 14-4 lead with 10:59 left in the half, and Mississippi State extended the lead to 22-9 following a layup by Martha Alwal and a three-pointer by Darriel Gaynor.

“We showed exceptional mental toughness in that game, especially there in the first half,” Mississippi State Coach Vic Schaefer said. “I am proud of the kids for how we competed. The girls have worked so hard in practice and they deserve that effort rewarded with wins. No team in America works harder than we do.”

Forward Quistelle Williams scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, but Arkansas’ other four starters combined for 11 points, with guard Dominique Wilson scoring eight of those.

Starting forward Keira Peak, the team’s second-leading scorer coming into the game with an average of 11.0 points per game, was held to 1 point and was 0 of 5 from the field. Starting guard Calli Berna failed to score, going 0 of 5 from the field.

Sarah Watkins came off the bench and scored 15 points for the Razorbacks.

Alwal led Mississippi State with 14 points, and Kendra Grant chipped in 11.

“This is the type of defense Coach asks us to play every game,” Gaynor said. “For our team to have success, it starts on the defensive end. We got stops and made scores. That is the key to having success.”

Arkansas trailed 24-14 going into the second half, but it still had a chance to pull out a victory after shooting 41.4 percent (12 of 29) from the field in the second half. Arkansas outscored Mississippi State 6-0 to pull within 31-29 with 12:56 left in the game. Wilson tied it at 33-33 with a jumper with 10:30 left, then gave Arkansas a 37-35 lead with another basket at 8:39.

Gaynor answered with a three-pointer as the Bulldogs took a 42-38 lead. Arkansas came back to tie it at 42-42 on two free throws by Wilson with 3:27 left, but Mississippi State took the lead for good seven seconds later on two free throws by Katia May.

Alwal scored to make it 46-42 with 2:08 left, but Williams answered for Arkansas to pull within 46-44.

Grant’s free throw with 6 seconds left gave Mississippi State a 47-44 lead, but she missed her second free throw. That gave Arkansas one last chance, but Wilson missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Khaalidah Miller scored a career-high 25 points and Georgia (19-3, 7-2 SEC) forced a key turnover with 5 seconds to play to hold off Kentucky (19-3, 7-2).

Anne Marie Armstrong and Jasmine James added 12 points each for the Lady Bulldogs, who had a 74-71 lead after James hit 1 of 2 free throws with 1:12 left.

Shacobia Barbee stripped the ball from Kentucky’s Jennifer O’Neill at the top of the key in the closing seconds and Miller hit one of two free throws with a second left to seal it for Georgia.

A’dia Mathies and O’Neill scored 18 points each for the Wildcats.


COLUMBIA, Mo. - Morgan Eye scored 26 points, Bri Kulas added 20 and Missouri (15-8, 4-5 SEC) beat Tennessee (17-5, 8-1) for its first victory over a ranked team in almost two years.

The Tigers shot 52.7 percent from the floor, their best showing in SEC play this season, and went 11 for 24 on three-point attempts.

Kamiko Williams scored 14 points to lead the Lady Vols before leaving with 16:59 left with an apparent leg injury. Tennessee has lost two of its past three and had its 12-game conference winning streak snapped.

The Tigers’ last victory over a ranked team came March 5, 2011, against then-No. 23 Iowa State.


COLUMBIA, S.C. - Reserve Khadijah Sessions had a career-high 19 points and South Carolina (19-3, 7-2 SEC) won its fifth consecutive game with a victory over Auburn (13-9, 2-7).

Sessions was 5 of 9 from the field and 8 of 9 from the free-throw line for the Gamecocks. Tiffany Mitchell and Aleighsa Welch added 10 points each.

Ieasia Walker added 8 points on 2-of-7 shooting for South Carolina, although she dished out 5 assists and record 4 steals.


Mississippi State 47, Arkansas 44 Florida 87, Alabama 54 Georgia 75, Kentucky 71 Missouri 80, Tennessee 63 South Carolina 59, Auburn 51 Vanderbilt 79, Mississippi 53

Sports, Pages 15 on 02/04/2013