Gatling’s long wait worth it
“Well, clearly we are disappointed,” said Arkansas Coach Tom Collen (shown here in January), whose team posted its lowest output since losing to No. 14 Vanderbilt 61-34 on Jan. 28, 2007. Arkansas lost to No. 13 Georgia 66-34 at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga. Thursday night.
LITTLE ROCK The Arkansas women’s basketball team had more than enough in reserve Thursday night in Columbia, Mo.
Senior guard Erin Gatling came off the bench to score a career-high 23 points and lead Arkansas to a 58-50 victory over Missouri at Mizzou Arena.
Gatling made a career high 6 of 10 three-pointers and finished 7 of 11 overall from the field.
“There is a time and place for everyone and everything, and Erin’s been waiting a long time,” Arkansas Coach Tom Collen said. “She got out to a good start, and we just rode her into the second half.”
The first 10 minutes belonged to the Razorbacks (14-5, 2-4 SEC) as they held Missouri (13-7, 2-4) to two points on 1-of-13 shooting.Arkansas forced turnovers and rebounded well early and didn’t allow the Tigers to get a good look from three point range as the Razorbacks opened a 12-2 lead.
The Tigers fought back to within four points, but the Razorbacks expanded the lead to 24-19 going into halftime, thanks to Gatling’s hot hand. She finished with nine first-half points on 3 three-pointers.
“We knew that the way they play defense that we would have open shots and it would be up to us to knock them down,” Gatling said. “Thankfully we got a few of them to fall early, and I think that sparked us for the rest of the game.”
Arkansas opened the second half by outscoring the Tigers 5-0 to take a 29-19 lead. But three-pointers by Morgan Eye and Liene Priede pulled the Tigers within
Erin Gatling scored a career-high 23 points and made a career-high six 3-pointers
The Razorbacks scored 25 points off 18 turnovers
Arkansas is 14-5 overall and 2-4 in the SEC
29-27 with 15:37 left to play.
Bri Kulas and Liz Smith sandwiched three free throws around a Razorbacks basket to bring the Tigers within one, and a jumper by Kulas gave Missouri a 32-31 lead.
Arkansas answered with five consecutive points to take a 36-32 lead, and the Razorbacks never trailed again.
Arkansas shot 35.6 percent (21 of 59) for the game and made 8 of 18 three-pointers.
The Razorbacks also benefited from a defense that forced 18 turnovers, which the Razorbacks converted into 25 points, and forced the Tigers into three shot-clock violations.
“Offensively, [I am] really disappointed with our execution,” Missouri Coach Robin Pingeton said. “Obviously too many turnovers; 25 of their 58 points came off of turnovers. You’re not going to play the game flawlessly, but we had way too many empty possessions.”
Calli Berna was the only other Razorback to score more than 10 points, finished with 12. Quistelle Williams added nine points for Arkansas, and Sarah Watkins came off the bench to contribute eight points and eight rebounds.
Eye led Missouri with 12 points and Priede had nine, but no other Tigers player had more than seven points as Missouri shot 32.7 percent (18 of 55) from the floor.
“I think any time you go on the road in the SEC and get a win, it is a big deal,” Collen said. “You can’t get to the NCAA [Tournament] by playing home games and winning.”
Sports, Pages 17 on 01/25/2013