SEC WOMEN:

Peak’s best her last on UA Senior Day

By: ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE
Published: Monday, March 3, 2014
Arkansas' Keira Peak, left, drives down the court as Missouri's Jordan Frericks tries to cut her off Sunday, March 2, 2014, during the second half of the game at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Samantha Baker
Arkansas' Keira Peak, left, drives down the court as Missouri's Jordan Frericks tries to cut her off Sunday, March 2, 2014, during the second half of the game at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

Keira Peak made her final regular-season game at Walton Arena one to remember.

Arkansas’ lone senior had a season-high 24 points on Senior Day as the Razorbacks held off Missouri 72-70 on Sunday in front of an announced crowd of 409 at Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

Missouri fell behind early but had a chance to win it in the final seconds when guard Morgan Eye got off a three-pointer from the top of the key with 1 second left but missed.

The victory gave Arkansas (19-10, 6-10 SEC) the No. 11 seed in the SEC Tournament that begins Wednesday in Duluth, Ga. Arkansas will play No. 14 seed Ole Miss (11-19, 2-14) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Missouri had trouble keeping up with Peak all day. She scored 16 points in the first half as Arkansas took control early, and she finished the game with 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocked shots.

Arkansas Coach Tom Collen said he asked Peak during the shoot-around how many family members she thought she would have at the game for the Senior Day celebration, and he was caught off guard when Peak told him 50.

Peak went into the game as Arkansas’ second-leading scorer with an average of 9.8 points a game.

“I looked at her and I said, ‘50?’ ” Collen said. “Then they reminded her that I didn’t want to know how many points she was going to score. She didn’t get to 50, but she got to 24 points, and that might have been her best game of the season.

“I just don’t think she could have done much more.”

Peak said she didn’t feel any extra pressure to score Sunday.

“It just came to me,” she said.

Junior forward Jhasmin Bowen added 14 points for Arkansas, while sophomore Melissa Wolff had 11 points and 10 rebounds and junior guard Calli Berna finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

Eye made 4 of 8 three-pointers and finished with 20 points to lead Missouri (17-12, 6-10), which will be the No. 12 seed in the conference tournament and will face 13th seed Mississippi State at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Freshman Jordan Frericks added 18 points, and Bri Kulas had 12.

Peak made an impact early as she opened the game by hitting her first five shots from the floor to help stake the Razorbacks to a 17-10 lead at the 13-minute mark of the first half.

Arkansas, which made 8 of 14 shots to start the game, built its lead to 31-18 with 6:43 left in the first half, but Missouri outscored Arkansas 14-8 to pull within 39-32 going into halftime.

Peak drilled a 20-foot jumper to give Arkansas a 41-35 lead with 19:18 left in the game, but the Razorbacks cooled off from there as Missouri scored six consecutive points and tied the game at 41-41 on a three-pointer by Eye with 17:45 remaining.

Sierra Michaelis’ three-pointer with 15:29 left gave Missouri a 46-45 lead, and Kulas’ layup gave the Tigers their final lead at 57-54 with 7:37 remaining.

Arkansas outscored Missouri 15-2 to take a 69-59 lead with 3:35 left, but Missouri wouldn’t go away as it made seven consecutive free throws to pull within 69-66 with 1:53 left.

Kelsey Brooks made two free throws to give Arkansas a 71-66 lead with 1:06 remaining, but Eye hit two free throws to pull Missouri within 71-70 with 8 seconds remaining.

Bowen made 1 of 2 free throws to give Arkansas a 72-70 lead before Eye missed her chance to win it when her three-pointer came up short.

Collen said hanging on for the victory was important for his team heading into the conference tournament.

“I think they are more confident than if we had lost this game,” he said.

“I think we would not have been feeling very good about ourselves losing at home. I think this gives us a fighting chance.”NO. 10 TENNESSEE 73, NO. 4 SOUTH CAROLINA 61

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Isabelle Harrison had 20 points and 15 rebounds as No. 10 Tennessee (24-5, 13-3 SEC) defeated No. 4 South Carolina (26-3, 14-2) to snap the Gamecocks’ 10-game winning streak.

South Carolina already had clinched its first SEC title Thursday with a 67-56 victory over Georgia.

Meighan Simmons added 16 points and Andraya Carter had 14 points for Tennessee. Aleighsa Welch had 16 points, Tiffany Mitchell scored 11 and Alaina Coates added 10 for South Carolina.

NO. 12 KENTUCKY 65, VANDERBILT 63

LEXINGTON, Ky. - DeNesha Stallworth scored 18 points and made two game-clinching free throws to lift No. 12 Kentucky (22-7, 10-6 SEC) over Vanderbilt (18-11, 7-9).

Bria Goss finished with 12 points for Kentucky. Christina Foggie led the Commodores with 23 points. Jasmine Lister added 15 points.

NO. 17 TEXAS A&M 83, FLORIDA 72

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Karla Gilbert mad 7 of 10 shots and scored 23 points to lead No. 17 Texas A&M (23-7, 13-3 SEC) to a victory over Florida (18-11, 8-8).

Texas A&M broke away with a 13-4 run capped by a jumper from Tori Scott that made it 62-54 with 7:22 to go, and it extended the advantage to double figures down the stretch.

Scott contributed 19 points and Courtney Walker had 17 for the Aggies. Achiri Ade had 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Jordan Jones had 14 rebounds.

Jaterra Bonds led Florida with 18 points.At a glance

SEC WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT The Arena at Gwinnett Center Duluth Ga.

All times Central WEDNESDAY’S GAMES Missouri vs. Mississippi St., 5 p.m.

Arkansas vs. Mississippi, 7:30 p.m.

THURSDAY’S GAMES Vanderbilt vs. Georgia, 11 a.m.

Mo./Miss. St. winner vs. Florida, 1:30 p.m. LSU va. Alabama, 5 p.m.

Ark./Miss. winner vs. Auburn, 7:30 p.m. *South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Kentucky received thrid-round byes.

Sports, Pages 15 on 03/03/2014

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