Arkansas D-Stroys East Central

By: ANDREW EPPERSON Special to the NWA Democrat-Gazette
Published: Friday, November 2, 2018
Image from Arkansas' win over Southwest Baptist Monday Oct. 29, 2018 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Image from Arkansas' win over Southwest Baptist Monday Oct. 29, 2018 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Mike Neighbors grinned as he sat down to start his postgame press conference.

The second-year Arkansas women's basketball coach had a simple statement that perfectly described what anyone who watched the action already knew.

Arkansas 101, East Central 46

East Central^7^7^13^19^—^46

Arkansas^23^20^25^33^—^101

East Central: Williams 11, Lourenco 10, Nickens 9, Preisner 5, Rehl 5, Ladd 4, Lyons 2.

Arkansas: Monk 18, Williams 16, Gaulden 12, Dungee 10, Doumbia 9, Northcross-Blake 9, Spangler 6, Tolefree 6, Zimmerman 5, Thomas 4, Weaver 4, Mason 2

Three-Point Goals: East Central 8-33, Arkansas 13-30. Rebounds: East Central 33, Arkansas 56. Turnovers: East Central 16, Arkansas 12. Technical Fouls: None.

Officials: Dee Kantner, Julie Krommenhoek, Eric Baker.

Attendance: 900

"I, for the first time as a Razorback coach, am gonna talk about good defense," Neighbors said.

The Razorbacks held East Central to a dismal 10-percent shooting clip in the first half and ultimately went on to dominate the Tigers 101-46 in their final exhibition game of the season Thursday night in Bud Walton Arena.

"The defense that we play is called a pack-line defense, so playing against a team that does a lot of motion and off-the-ball type of screens, I feel like our defense, since we stayed in the line, that helped us a lot," said Razorback junior forward Kiara Williams.

In the first half, Arkansas' defense, which is a variant of man-to-man, forced East Central into poor shots late in the shot clock, and the Mike Neighbors-led squad capitalized with seven steals and four blocks before the half. The game was already out of reach by the time the teams returned to the court for the third quarter.

Neighbors said Eastern Central coach Matt Cole requested in a pregame conversation that Arkansas run that style of defense to prepare his squad for the regular season.

"We talked before the game, and he wanted to go against man," Neighbors said. "We were trying to help them get ready for their season, as well. We'll be pulling for them every night."

Arkansas senior guard Malica Monk led all scorers with 18 points on 7 of 9 shooting and five assists. She had a rare and-one on a 3-point basket at the 8:07 mark in the final quarter. Kiara Williams made a significant impact with 16 points and nine rebounds.

"We really meshed well together," Monk said. "These exhibition games are really a huge test to us, and we're really mastering the test. That really opened the gates for us to do what we want to do when the season hits."

Arkansas controlled the boards throughout the game and outrebounded the Tigers 56-33. Many of East Central's shots came from outside the paint due to a clear size disadvantage, so the Hogs' forwards were in position to box out and hit the glass.

The Hogs shot only 3-for-11 from behind the arc in the first half, but they found their stroke in the second half to improve their mark to 13-for-30 by the final whistle.

TIP-INS

• Razorback assistant coach Lacey Goldwire played collegiately at East Central, where she ranks fifth in career scoring, according to Razorback Athletics. As a senior, she averaged 21.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

• The Razorbacks have now won 16 consecutive exhibition games, and the contest marked the first time Arkansas has played in two exhibition games since 2005.

• Arkansas eclipsed the 100-point mark in both of its exhibition games, winning by an average of 58.5 points per game. It's the first time in school history the team scored over 100 in two straight games.

UP NEXT

The Razorbacks will officially begin the 2018-19 season when they host Northwestern State on Nov. 9. Tipoff will be at 10:30 a.m.

Sports on 11/02/2018

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