Arkansas comes up just short
NWA Media/ANDY SHUPE -- Arkansas sophomore forward Jhasmin Bowen (42) South Carolina sophomore forward Aleighsa Welch during the second half Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, in Bud Walton Arena.
FAYETTEVILLE The Arkansas women’s basketball team was stuck on a season-low 40 points Sunday as the final seconds ticked down in its game with 18th-ranked South Carolina.
Surprisingly, Arkansas still had a chance to tie.
Two chances, actually.
But the Razorbacks failed to convert on two game-tying three-pointers in the final 11.7 seconds and dropped a 43-40 decision in front of 2,321 at Walton Arena.
“We got lucky,” South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley said.
Arkansas (14-6, 2-5 in SEC) trailed by as many as seven points late in the game, but got a three-pointer from Calli Berna to pull within 43-40 with 59.7 seconds remaining in a chaotic second half.
South Carolina (18-3, 6-2) missed a shot and committed two turnovers in the final 32.2 seconds, but Keira Peak’s three-point attempt with seven seconds left was blocked, and Quistelle Williams’ desperation shot as time expired was off the mark. Both attempts were set up by out of bounds passes under the basket from Berna.
“We drew it up and ran it just like we wanted,” Arkansas Coach Tom Collen said of Williams’ final shot, which came after Peak forced a turnover and the Razorbacks got a timeout with 1.8 seconds remaining. “We didn’t get the look we wanted on the first play, but to their credit, when Peak tried to rise up and take a shot they had switched out and she had the biggest kid on the floor against her and they blocked the shot. There wasn’t much we could do about that.”
The Razorbacks’ missed chances at the end were a common theme throughout the game. Arkansas twice pulled within two points in the final 10 minutes thanks to a series of small runs off South Carolina turnovers, but miscues and repeated missed shots in the lane kept the Razorbacks from tying the game.
“We had a lot of easy baskets, easy plays that we couldn’t convert on to tie or take the lead,” said sophomore forward Jhasmin Bowen, who led Arkansas with 13 points on 6 of 10 shooting. “It was a tough game. Easy shots aren’t so easy in a tough game.”
Arkansas shot 32 percent, including just 21.4 percent in the second half, and committed 17 turnovers. The Gamecocks weren’t much better, shooting 35.4 percent, 27.3 percent in the second half, and committing 16 turnovers.
“I could have bet my paycheck on the game being a 40-something to 40-something game because I think you’re dealing with two of the better defensive teams in the league,” Collen said. “South Carolina is the best defensive team in the country, they are yearin, year-out, and I knew we would have a hard time scoring on them.”
Williams finished with eight points and 10 rebounds and Berna had seven points and 10 rebounds for the Razorbacks. Sarah Watkins, who leads Arkansas in scoring, was held scoreless in 20 minutes of action.
“It was two teams that were scrapping for a win,” Staley said. “I don’t think it was our best game, but you have to give Arkansas credit for hanging in there. We would get a seven-, eight-point lead and they never went away. Both of us do a good job of strategizing from a defensive standpoint ... We were just able to put three more points on the board and escape with the win.
“I don’t know if this kind of game will put people in the stands, but it certainly was a knockdown, drag-out game.”
The Gamecocks outscored the Razorbacks 12-3 to lead 21-12 midway through the first half. Arkansas pulled within 21-20 on back-to-back baskets from Bowen and a layup from Berna, but South Carolina outscored the Razorbacks 7-2 and led 28-22 at the half.
The Gamecocks led by as many as eight in the second half, before Arkansas outscored South Carolina 8-2 to pull within 38-36 with 6:56 remaining.
Sunday’s loss was Arkansas’ third by three points in the SEC. The Razorbacks now face two games on the road, at Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
NO. 5 KENTUCKY 73, LSU 60
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Azia Bishop scored 17 points to help Kentucky beat LSU.
Bishop, a sophomore who was averaging 3.2 points and 2.9 rebounds before Sunday’s game, made 7 of 10 shots and had 5 rebounds in 20 minutes.
The Wildcats (19-2, 7-1 SEC), whose 17-game victory streak ended Thursday against South Carolina, scored the game’s final nine points to pull away late. The 13-point victory margin was also the Wildcats’ largest lead of the game.
The Lady Tigers (12-8, 3-4) closed Kentucky’s lead to 49-45 with 8:40 to play, and Bishop scored her first basket of the second half on the next possession.
When LSU got within five points in the second half on two occasions, Bishop answered both times with baskets on the next possession.
Adrienne Webb had 18 points for the Lady Tigers (12-8, 3-4).
NO. 14 GEORGIA 69, FLORIDA 52
ATHENS, Ga. - Jasmine Hassell scored 13 points and 10 different players scored for Georgia as the Bulldogs beat Florida.
Tiaria Griffin scored 12 points and Krista Donald had 11 for Georgia (17-3, 5-2), which rebounded from a 64-46 loss to No. 20 Texas A&M on Jan. 20.
Shacobia Barbee grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and Jasmine James recorded seven of the Bulldogs’ 18 assists.
Kayla Lewis paced Florida (13-8, 2-5) with eight points and 10 rebounds as no Gator reached double figures.
NO. 16 TEXAS A&M 77, MISSOURI 58
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Adrienne Pratcher scored 18 points and Texas A&M never trailed in defeating Missouri.
All of Pratcher’s points came on her six three-pointers. Peyton Little scored 17 points, making five three-pointers, and Kelsey Bone had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Aggies (16-5, 6-1 Southeastern), winners of four in a row and eight of their last nine. Kristi Bellock added 10 points as 10 Aggies scored in the game.
Texas A&M scored the first eight points and shot 58 percent in the first half on the way to a 48-20 lead at the break.
Bri Kulas led Missouri (13-8, 2-5) with 12 points.
Sports, Pages 13 on 01/28/2013