Dungee scores 41 but Arkansas' comeback bid falls short

By: Paul Boyd
Published: Sunday, February 10, 2019
Arkansas guard Chelsea Dungee looks to shoot during a game against Auburn on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas guard Chelsea Dungee looks to shoot during a game against Auburn on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas wiped out a 17-point second-half deficit thanks to a huge effort by sophomore Chelsea Dungee, but Auburn still escaped with a 75-72 Southeastern Conference win on Sunday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena.

Auburn made 5-of-6 free throws in the final 22.2 seconds and withstood Arkansas’ final possession after the Razorbacks had taken their first lead of the second half with 1:39 left in the fourth quarter.

Arkansas (16-9, 5-6 in the SEC) has now lost four straight, but Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said Dungee, who scored 32 of her game-high 41 points in the second half, made it tough on her team, which led 60-47 after three quarters.

“You mean when Dungee went off,” Williams-Flournoy said. “Yeah, that would be what happened. We don’t play man-to-man. We just don’t play man-to-man, but there was no way we could come out here and play them in a zone and let them hit threes.

“Dungee got off, that was the change of the game right there.”

Dungee hit four free throws with 1:39 left to turn a 70-67 deficit into a 71-70 advantage. The 5-11 sophomore drew a foul on Auburn’s Crystal Primm. She was also assessed a technical foul, her fifth foul of the game.

But the Razorbacks managed just one more point the rest of the game. Auburn’s Unique Thompson came up with a big steal and also drew a foul with 22.2 seconds left. She walked to the other end and hit two free throws to give Auburn the lead for good at 72-71.

Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors was pleased with his team’s tenacity in rallying from a big deficit, especially with senior Malica Monk slowed by an ankle injury. She finished with two points and had to be helped from the floor because of an ankle injury late in the first half. But Monk did return late in the third quarter and helped the Razorbacks rally.

“There was a lot of teams that would have quit, especially with Mal’s injury,” Neighbors said. “That’s not what this team’s ever been about. We didn’t quit down at LSU the other night. We just didn’t play good.

“Certainly a proud coach to bounce back like we did and have an opportunity to win it against a really, really good team that’s starting to play good basketball.”

Thompson finished with a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds and was one of four players in double figures for Auburn (18-6, 6-5).

Daisa Alexander led the way with a team-high 18 points, while Janiah McKay added 13 and Robyn Benton 11.

Auburn’s team effort offset Dungee’s huge effort. She hit 10-of-18 from the floor and 4-of-7 from 3-point range. She also went 17-of-19 from the free throw line. Raven Northcross-Baker was Arkansas’ only other player in double figures with 12 off the bench.

Neighbors said Dungee’s performance was as good as he’s seen, particularly under the circumstances.

“Needing it, knowing we needed it,’ Neighbors said. “Not being reluctant when the number got called. It doesn’t surprise me one bit. To play 40 minutes against that defense and do what she did. We had a lot of alumni here telling me that’s as good of a performance as they’ve ever seen, especially in this building.

“And man, I’m not gonna tell you it’s not one of the top performances I’ve ever seen period.”

Tip-ins

• Auburn’s McKay finished with six assists and no turnovers in 34 minutes of action.

• Dungee made 17 of 19 free throws, all in the second half.

• Auburn finished the first half with an 18-4 run to grab a 38-24 halftime advantage after the game was tied at 20.

Up Next

Arkansas has a week off from action until it travels to Kentucky on Sunday, Feb. 17.

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