Arkansas can't catch No. 4 Bulldogs
Arkansas' Malica Monk gets her shot blocked by Mississippi State's Teaira McCowen, (from left) Blair Schaefer and Morgan William on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Chinwe Okorie had 14 points and a career-best 15 rebounds as No. 4 Mississippi State led throughout and remained undefeated with a 59-51 victory over Arkansas on Thursday night.
The win puts the Bulldogs (16-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) two victories from matching the school record for best start — 18-0 in 2014-15.
Morgan William had 15 points to lead Mississippi State, which has ascended to a program-best ranking with its fast start, while Victoria Vivians added 13 points despite 5-of-19 shooting.
Malica Monk led the Razorbacks (11-4, 0-2) with 17 points, while Jessica Jackson added 12 — her 15th straight game in double figures.
Arkansas entered Thursday looking for its first win over a ranked opponent in nearly a year, having last defeated then-No. 24 Missouri on Jan. 17, 2016.
The Bulldogs tried to quash any hope of that early for the Razorbacks, leading from the outset and by as many as 13 points while building a 35-22 halftime lead.
However, Arkansas closed the gap to as few as two points in the fourth quarter before William hit four free throws in the closing minute to secure the win.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are one of three unbeaten teams remaining in the country, joining No. 1 UConn and No. 18 Virginia Tech. They have four games remaining before a key regular-season matchup at No. 5 South Carolina on Jan. 23.
Arkansas: After starting the season 9-0, the Razorbacks have lost four of their last six games. Still, their 11-4 record is a far improvement over last season — when they finished 12-18 in Jimmy Dykes' second season as coach.
Mississippi State puts its unbeaten start to the season on the line when they travel to Tennessee on Sunday.
Arkansas hosts LSU on Sunday.
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