SEC WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT:
Late shot tops UA in opener
Arkansas guard Kelsey Brooks reacts after Ole Miss defeated Arkansas 63-62 in the first round of the Women's Southeastern Conference NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in Duluth, Ga. (AP Photo/Jason Getz)
Arkansas’ women’s team didn’t do anything to help its postseason chances Wednesday night in the opening round of the SEC Tournament.
Kenyotta Jenkins hit a short bank shot with four seconds left as 14th-seeded Ole Miss knocked off No. 11 seed Arkansas 63-62 at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.
Arkansas still had a shot to pull out the victory after Jenkins’ basket. After both teams took a timeout, the Razorbacks (19-11) inbounded the ball to Calli Berna near midcourt. She passed to Jessica Jackson, but her 17-foot jumper missed as the buzzer sounded.
“This team did not give up,” Ole Miss Coach Matt Insell said. “Had plenty of chances to give up when things weren’t going our way. They kept fighting and kept fighting.”
The Razorbacks held a 60-50 lead with 4:45 left in the game but were outscored 13-2 the remainder of the way.
“I felt like it was a game that we had in hand,” Arkansas Coach Tom Collen said. “I don’t know whether we necessarily let up. I don’t think a team ever purposely lets up at the end of the game, but we probably made some poor decisions in the latter part of the game that allowed them to get more possessions on us. ”
The victory moved Ole Miss (12-19) into a 7:30 p.m. game today against Auburn. The Razorbacks will have to wait to see if they receive a postseason berth, more than likely in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
Arkansas lost its first game in the SEC Tournament for the eighth time in the past nine years. The Razorbacks had defeated the Rebels (12-19) 68-65 on Jan. 19 at Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Gracie Frizzell (Central Arkansas Christian) hit a three-pointer to give the Rebels a 61-60 lead with 1:13 left before Jackson’s jumper with :54 remaining gave Arkansas its final lead at 62-61.
Frizzell missed a three-pointer that Jackson rebounded with :26 left. Ole Miss fouled twice, but Arkansas wasn’t in the bonus to shoot free throws. Tia Faleru stole the ball from Bria Pitts to set up the Rebels’ winning possession.
Faleru missed a shot and Moore rebounded it, then passed inside to Jenkins, who converted the short bank shot.
Four Rebels had at least 10 points, with Faleru leading the way with 16.
Jackson led all players with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
“I think this team deserves a little bit better fate,” Collensaid. “I said all year long I think it’s an NCAA Tournament team, but you’ve got to earn the right to get into the NCAA Tournament. In order to be able to do that, you’ve got to be able to win these close games.”
In another SEC Tournament game Wednesday, Kendra Grant scored 17 points, Martha Alwal added 16 and Mississippi State (19-12) beat Missouri (17-13) 73-70. No. 13 seed Mississippi State will play fifth-seeded Florida today. Brianna Kulas finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Sierra Michaelis scored 16 for 12th-seeded Missouri.
SEC Tournament At Duluth, Ga.
All times Central
WEDNESDAY’S GAMES (13) Mississippi St. 73, (12) Missouri 70 (14) Ole Miss 63, (11) Arkansas 62 TODAY’S GAMES (8) Vanderbilt vs. (9) Georgia, 11 a.m.
(13) Miss. St. vs. (5) Florida, 1:30 p.m.
(7) Alabama vs. (10) LSU, 5 p.m.
(14) Ole Miss vs. (6) Auburn, 7:30 p.m.
Sports, Pages 17 on 03/06/2014