SEC Women:

UA women find range to rally in Neighbors' debut

By: Paul Boyd
Published: Saturday, November 11, 2017
Arkansas guard Devin Cosper (21) attempts a shot during a basketball game on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Charlie Kaijo
Arkansas guard Devin Cosper (21) attempts a shot during a basketball game on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Mike Neighbors notched his first victory at his alma mater Friday morning, but the Arkansas Razorbacks needed a strong shooting second half to do it.

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville opened the second half with a 15-0 run to wipe out a five-point halftime deficit, then put the game away with an 11-0 spurt to begin the fourth quarter en route to a 65-54 victory over Sam Houston State in front of a crowd of more than 3,000 elementary school students in Walton Arena.

Women’s College Basketball

Arkansas 65, Sam Houston State 54

Sam Houston State^13^15^9^17^—^54


Sam Houston State (0-1): Oramas 11, Maxwell 10, Baxter 9, Morgan 6, Harrell 6, McKinney 4, Ferriera 4, Mickens 2, Ballew 2.

Arkansas (1-0): Monk 18, Cosper 17, Mason 8, Williams 7, Swenson 5, Thomas 4, Northcross-Baker 3, Zimmerman 2, Stout 1.

Three-Point Goals: Sam Houston State 7-27, Arkansas 9-33. Rebounds: Sam Houston State 51, Arkansas 39. Turnovers: Sam Houston State 15, Arkansas 9. Technical Fouls: None.

Officials: Eric Brewton, Kelly Johnson, Eric Baker.

Attendance: 4,719

Neighbors said his team made good adjustments somewhat on their own at halftime that led to the second-half surge. He also said his team might have been too hyped up at the beginning, making just 2 of 17 three-pointers in the first half and 10 of 35 overall.

"Good resolve," Neighbors said. "Not a lot of stuff on my part, just them talking to each other and us pointing out a few things. We were really sky-high, jacked up. I learned a lot about how high is too high for our team today. I want them to be excited, but not too excited."

Seniors Malica Monk and Devin Cosper keyed the Razorbacks offense. Monk scored a game-high 18 points, while the 5-10 Cosper put up the first double-double of her career with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

The Razorbacks (1-0) suffered through a frigid shooting first half and trailed by as many as 13. Arkansas hit 7 of 10 three-pointers during a key stretch in the second half in which it turned a five-point deficit into a 20-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

Cosper drained a three-pointer and Monk converted a transition layup to tie the game at 28-28 a little more than a minute into the second half. The Razorbacks held Sam Houston State scoreless for more than five minutes until Rachel Harrell's three-pointer pulled the BearKats within 38-31 with 4:18 left in the third quarter.

Cosper hit her fourth three-pointer and Monk added a three-point play off a drive to key Arkansas' 11-0 run less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, putting the Razorbacks in control 57-37.

Neighbors said switching to a zone was big, after the BearKats (0-1) grabbed a 28-23 halftime lead and outrebounded Arkansas 30-16. The Razorbacks held a 23-21 rebounding edge in the second half.

"The best way to play that team is zone," Neighbors said. "But we started out in man because we are going to have to play both throughout the year. That's part of this being a process team.

"I was afraid if we didn't go to the zone, it might get out of hand and we wouldn't be able to go on a run."

Sam Houston State Coach Brenda Welch-Nichols was pleased with her team's effort, but she acknowledged the Razorbacks found their shooting touch.

"I think they just got hot and we didn't cover out where we needed to cover out," Welch-Nichols said. "Walking into a place like Arkansas, the SEC, for us coming from the Southland [Conference], we wanted to come in and represent and I'm telling you we represented strong. I think Arkansas has some great shooters. I wished we could have contained them a little better."

Arkansas has a quick turnaround as it hosts Samford on Sunday at 1 p.m.


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