UA women to face equal in 3 shooting

By: Chip Souza
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018
Arkansas forward Taylah Thomas shoots during a game against Ole Miss on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas forward Taylah Thomas shoots during a game against Ole Miss on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Mike Neighbors has done the math, and he's certain three points are more than two.

Florida Coach Cameron Newbauer is a believer in that formula.

The two teams with the most three-point shot attempts in the SEC this season will launch plenty at 6 p.m. today as the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (11-7, 2-3 SEC) hosts Florida (8-10, 0-5) in Walton Arena.

"I think we can call our shot-clock operator and tell them to stay home," Neighbors, the first-year Arkansas coach, said. "There's not going to be any need for that."

The Gators have put up an SEC-leading 512 three-point shots this season, with 169 finding the mark. Arkansas ranks second at 475 attempts, with 141 successfully finding the net.

Neighbors, whose team is coming off a 68-58 road victory at Auburn on Sunday, said games like this one where both teams are similar in style are usually entertaining.

"These games always tend to be very spirited," he said. "Every loose ball will be contested, every pass will be contested. They play really fast, and these guys can add up the threes in a hurry."

Arkansas played its best half of the season against Auburn on Sunday, hitting nine three-pointers in the first half and racing to a 41-17 halftime lead. Auburn mounted a second-half comeback, but Arkansas' big lead proved too much.

The victory is even more impressive considering top scorer Devin Cosper played just eight minutes and did not score after suffering an ankle injury. Her status for today's game is unknown, Neighbors said.

"She's a tough kid, but it will be about how much pain she can tolerate, and that's a lot," Neighbors said. "So we'll see. We're going to hope for the best and prepare for the worst."

Arkansas had four players score in double figures against Auburn, but a surprise name in that group was Bailey Zimmerman. The junior has broken out of a season-long shooting slump the past two games, scoring 11 in a loss to Georgia and a season-high 13 against Auburn that included 3 three-pointers.

Neighbors said Zimmerman is starting to regain confidence in her shot after making just one three-pointer in the 16 games prior to last week. She also had 3 three-pointers against Georgia.

"She's been shooting it a lot better in practice and that's our rule, or our shot selection rule. When a kid makes shots in practice, you take those shots in the game," he said. "We've told her to just keep shooting it, just keep doing what she's doing in practice. If you feel good, shoot it, and if you don't, drive and pass it."

Florida won't have to be reminded to shoot it. The Gators have a perpetual green light. Four Gators are averaging double figures, led by junior Funda Nakkasoglu, who is averaging just under 15 points per game and has made 45 shots from distance. Senior Dyandria Anderson is averaging 12 ppg and has connected on 35 three-pointers. Three other players have made more than 20 from deep.

Arkansas is 8-1 at home this season, but this is the only Fayetteville stop during a five-game swing that began at Georgia and ends next week with a road trip to defending national champion South Carolina. Arkansas' next home game is Jan. 29 against Kentucky.

The Razorbacks have lost four consecutive games to Florida, with the last victory coming in 2014.

Florida women at Arkansas

WHEN 6 p.m.

WHERE Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville

RECORD Florida 8-10, 0-5; Arkansas 11-7, 2-3

SERIES Florida leads 27-9

RADIO KABZ-FM 103.7 in Little Rock; KQSM-FM 92.1 in Fayetteville; KFPW-AM 1230 and KFPW-FM 94.5 in Fort Smith; KURM-AM 790 and KURM-FM 100.3 in Rogers.

ONLINE ArkansasRazorbacks.com

TELEVISION SEC Network

PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS

FLORIDA

POS^NAME^HT.^YR.^PPG^RPG

G^Dyandria Anderson^5-10^Sr.^11.3^4.3

G^Delicia Washingtonr^5-10^So.^10.1^8.9

F^Paulina Hersler^6-3^Sr.^12.2^6.6

F^Haley Lorenzen^6-3^Sr.^12.6^9.3

G^Funda Nakkasoglu^5-8^Jr.^14.9^2.4

COACH Cameron Newbauer (8-10 first season at Florida; 87-60 overall)

ARKANSAS

POS^NAME^HT.^YR.^PPG^RPG

G^Malika Monk^5-5^Jr.^16.4^3.7

C^Kiara Williams^6-1^So.^7.8^7.8

G^Jailyn Mason^5-9^So.^10.6^4.1

G^Devin Cosper^5-10^SGr.^15.3^6.8

F^Bailey Zimmerman^6-0^Jr.^3.9^3.2

COACH Mike Neighbors (11-7 first year at Arkansas; 109-48 overall)

TEAM COMPARISON

Florida^Arkansas

70.3^Points Scored Per Game^70.4

68.4^Points Allowed Per Game^69.2

43.3^Rebounds Per Game^41.5

16.3^Turnovers Per Game^12.6

.414^FG pct.^.377

.330^3-pt FG pct.^.297

.667^FT pct.^.678

CHALK TALK Arkansas comes into today’s game off a 10-point win at Auburn on Sunday 68-58. Four players scored in double figures for Arkansas, and none of them were Devin Cosper, who played just eight minutes and did not score. Kiara Williams was outstanding with 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Bailey Zimmerman had a season-high 13 points and 8 rebounds. Jailyn Mason scored 15 and Malika Monk 14. … Arkansas played its best half of the season against Auburn and led 41-17 at halftime. The Razorbacks knocked down nine 3-pointers in the first half. … Florida has been a hard-luck team this season with four losses by single digits. … The Gators have four players score in double figures, led by Funda Nakkasoglu, who is averaging 14.9 points per game. … Florida’s Haley Lorenzen and Paulina Hersler are both 6-foot-3. Lorenzen has nine double-doubles this season.

— Chip Souza

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