Dungee leads Arkansas to win on Senior Day

By: Steve Andrews, Special to the NWA Democrat-Gazette
Published: Sunday, February 24, 2019
Image from Arkansas' 73-61 win over Ole Miss Sunday Feb. 24, 2019 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Image from Arkansas' 73-61 win over Ole Miss Sunday Feb. 24, 2019 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — On an emotional Senior Day for the Arkansas women’s basketball team, it was sophomore Chelsea Dungee who helped slam the brakes on a six-game losing streak with a 73-61 win over Ole Miss.

The victory helped ensure the Razorbacks (17-11, 6-8) would finish in the top 10 in the conference and would not have to participate in a play-in game to start next month’s SEC Tournament.

“It’s always a scary game because of the emotion of Senior Day and everything that goes with that,” Razorbacks coach Mike Neighbors said. “Then you factor in that we played really well at their place about a month ago, probably as good as we have played all year. And you just worry about a letdown.”

Dungee, now second in the SEC averaging 19 points per game, scored 19 in the second half Sunday. She finished with a game-high 33, her third game with 30 or more.

“It was great to send our seniors out with a win,” Neighbors said. “They deserve it. They could have left the program (with the coaching change), but they stayed and gave us everything they had, so it was good to get them a win.”

Arkansas' final home game will be Thursday night against Missouri. With the late 8 p.m. start, the athletics department decided to celebrate Senior Day on Sunday afternoon.

Dungee didn’t take long to heat up, scoring 10 of Arkansas’ first 14 points, including a pair of early 3-pointers. Her floater off the glass gave the Razorbacks a 14-9 lead with 2:47 left in the first. Ole Miss (9-19, 3-11) battled back to tie it at 18-18 on a 3-pointer from Crystal Allen.

With starting point guard Malica Monk playing fewer minutes with an injured hand, sophomore A’Tyanna Gaulden stepped up with 12 points for Arkansas - seven in a first-half spark. Gaulden, a transfer from Florida State, had missed seven games with an injured knee before returning two games ago.

“She is able to come in fresh, and I think she has just a little extra step, a little hop, a little confidence, and she has been every good since she has been back full speed,” Neighbors said. “It’s a great time for her to be playing good with Mal a little banged up, and she’s just one of those players that kids like to play with.”

Gaulden’s 3-pointer gave Arkansas the lead early in the second quarter, but the teams traded buckets throughout and the Razorbacks took a 35-33 halftime lead.

Arkansas extended the lead in the third. Gaulden’s layup made it a 57-46 game with 1:30 to play in the period. Dungee then scored 11 of the Razorbacks’ 16 fourth-quarter points, including two more 3-pointers.

“I still don’t think we are all playing as good as we could play at the same time,” Neighbors said. “But hopefully we’ll do like last year and peak in March.”

Jailyn Mason and Alexis Tolefree added 10 each for Arkansas. Allen led Ole Miss with 12.

TIP-INS

• Dungee has scored in double-figures in 25 of 28 games this season, including 14 with 20-plus points.

• Arkansas already has four more wins than last season, including three more SEC victories.

• Seven of Arkansas’ 11 losses are by nine points or less - four against ranked teams.

• Arkansas has three one-possession losses, two coming against ranked opponents.

UP NEXT

Mississippi travels to Alabama on Thursday.

Arkansas hosts Missouri on Thursday at 8 p.m. (SEC Network)

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