Arkansas claims victory in 3 OTs

Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
Tom Collen coached Arkansas to a triple overtime win at Alabama on Sunday.
Photo by Anthony Reyes
Tom Collen coached Arkansas to a triple overtime win at Alabama on Sunday.

— Tom Collen was spent.

His Arkansas women’s basketball team rallied from an eight-point deficit in the first half, blew a seven-point lead in the second half and fought through three overtimes before an eventual 91-80 victory over Alabama on Sunday at Foster Auditorium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

“I’m worn out,” Collen said. “It was about who had the will and could find a way to win. I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of a team. We have been so close many times and I think we deserved this.”

Sunday’s victory came after consecutive close losses for the Razorbacks, a three point loss at Mississippi State on Feb. 3 and an 80-74 overtime loss to No. 10 Kentucky on Thursday at Walton Arena.

The Razorbacks (16-8, 4-7) almost let this one get away, too.

Arkansas was forced to overtime when Alabama’s Shafontaye Myers made a three-pointer with 3 seconds left in regulation.

Another three-pointer by Myers, with 12 seconds left in the first overtime, forced a second overtime.

Then, the Razorbacks needed Dominique Wilson’s three with 13 seconds left to force a third overtime after Arkansas trailed by as many as seven.

Arkansas left no doubt in the third overtime, outscoring Alabama 15-4, ending the game on a 10-2 run.

“We did a lot of good things, but at the end of the day there were a couple of plays where Arkansas got the loose balls, especially in the last overtime,” Alabama Coach Wendell Hudson said. “We’ve got to finish. We didn’t finish. That’s just the bottom line. We played hard, but we didn’t play smart.”

Arkansas trailed 31-28 at the half but outscored Alabama 12-2 to take a 40-33 lead at the 16:25 mark of the second half.

Jhasmin Bowen and Wilson scored two baskets each for Razorbacks as Alabama (12-12, 2-9) missed its first four shots from the floor and committed six turnovers.

But Alabama was within44-43 with 11:58 left, and, though Arkansas never trailed the rest of the second half, it could not shake the Tide.

It was 56-53 Arkansas with 3:05 to play, but the Razorbacks missed their final four shots from the floor, giving Alabama a chance to tie.

Jasmine Robinson and Daisha Simmons made free throws to get Alabama within 56-55, but two free throws by Wilson put Arkansas up 58-55 with 13 seconds left.

That’s when Myers made a three, with three seconds left, to force overtime.

Arkansas had another chance to end the game at the end of the first overtime.

Wilson gave Arkansas a 68-65 lead with 18 seconds left before Myers tied the game with a three. Arkansas had a chance to win with 2 seconds left, but Wilson missed a layup.

Alabama took a 75-68 lead two minutes into the second overtime, but Quistelle Williams made a three-pointer, Bowen made two free throws, and, after Brittany Jack made 1 of 2 free throws to give Alabama a 76-73 lead, Wilson’s three forced a third overtime.

Arkansas made 4 of 8 shots, including its final three, and 6 of 7 free throws to finally put the game away.

Bowen and Wilson led the Razorbacks with 19 points, while Gatling finished with 13.

Calli Berna had 12 points. Williams had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Simmons led Alabama, which has lost five in a row, with 21 points.

Sports, Pages 13 on 02/11/2013