UA women let 8-point lead slip away late

By: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Published: Monday, February 3, 2014
Arkansas senior Keira Peak (1) reaches to score during the second half of play Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas senior Keira Peak (1) reaches to score during the second half of play Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

— Kiera Peak’s layup staked the Arkansas women’s basketball team to an eight-point lead with 4:07 left, and it seemed as though the Razorbacks were in position to end a two-game losing streak in SEC play.

But Arkansas went almost three minutes without scoring, while committing three turnovers and missing a layup during that span, and Auburn went on a game-turning run in a 56-48 victory Sunday at Bud Walton Arena.

“We can’t make excuses for ourselves right now,” Arkansas Coach Tom Collen said. “We handled the pressure pretty well for the most part, but then in the last 10 minutes they extended a bit more and we lost our confidence.”

Freshmen Jessica Jackson and McKenzie Adams scored more than half of Arkansas’ points.

Jackson (Jacksonville) scored 19 points and had a career-high 12 rebounds and Adams had nine points for Arkansas (15-7, 2-7), which has lost three in a row. But Jackson’s last points came with 4:51 left, a jumper that made it 44-36.

Peak’s layup made it 46-38 with 4:07 left, giving the Razorbacks what appeared to be a comfortable lead in a game in which it led for more than 24 minutes.

But Auburn (12-10, 3-6), which went to a full-court man-to-man press after trailing 27-20 at halftime answered with Tra’Cee Tanner’s layup, and the Tigers outscored the Razorbacks 18-2 over the final 3:55 to take victory from Arkansas.

The Razorbacks committed six turnovers and missed 5 of 6 shots over the final four minutes, the only basket coming from Adams, whose layup with 1:38 tied the game at 48-48. But Khady Dieng answered with a three-pointer to give Auburn a 51-48 lead, then Adams missed a three-pointer and Tyrese Tanner made two free throws to make it 52-48 with 1:05 left.

Arkansas never had the ball with a chance to tie the game again. The Razorbacks committed 17 turnovers, 14 of which came in the second half.

“I think it really comes back to the turnovers,” Collen said. “Once you see that lead slipping away from you, you’ve got to be pretty mentally tough to stop it and get it back.”

Peak scored seven points and added 10 rebounds, but the Razorbacks shot 32 percent shooting from the floor. Auburn shot 31.5 percent, but made 16 of 25 free throws and got 23 points from its bench.

Tyrese Tanner led Auburn with 13 points, making 7 of 10 free throws, and grabbing 8 rebounds. Dieng added 10 points.

Auburn led 13-6 through the game’s first seven minutes, before Arkansas went on a 14-3 run to take a 20-16 lead with 5:38 left and led 27-20 at halftime.

The Razorbacks led for the first 18 minutes for the second half before Tra’Cee Tanner’s layup made it 48-46 with 1:52 left.

“I told them at halftime, they were about to blow a huge opportunity.” Auburn Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “They just really came back and played hard.”