SEC WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT:

Neighbors wants urgency in tourney

By: Paul Boyd
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors reacts during an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia in Athens, Ga., Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)
Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors reacts during an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia in Athens, Ga., Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)

FAYETTEVILLE -- Head Coach Mike Neighbors said the postseason brings a sense of desperation to some teams.

He hopes the University of Arkansas women's basketball team rediscovers that feeling as it takes on Georgia in the SEC Tournament on Thursday at 5 p.m. in Greenville, S.C.

Southeastern Conference Women’s

Basketball Tournament Pairings

Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, S.C.

Today’s Games

Game 1: No. 12 Ole Miss vs. No. 13 Florida, 10 a.m.

Game 2: No. 11 Alabama vs. No. 14 Vanderbilt, noon.

Thursday’s Games

Game 3: No. 9 LSU vs. No. 8 Tennessee, 11 a.m.

Game 4: Game 1 winner vs. No. 5 Missouri, 1 p.m.

Game 5: No. 7 Arkansas vs. No. 10 Georgia, 5 p.m.

Game 6: Game 2 winner vs. No. 6 Auburn, 7 p.m.

Friday’s Games

Game 7: Game 3 winner vs. No. 1 Mississippi State, 11 a.m.

Game 8: Game 4 winner vs. No. 4 Kentucky, 1 p.m.

Game 9: Game 5 winner vs. No. 2 South Carolina, 5 p.m.

Game 10: Game 6 winner vs. No. 3 Texas A&M, 7 p.m.

Saturday’s Games

Game 11: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 4 p.m.

Game 12: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 6 p.m.

Sunday’s Game

Game 13: Championship game, 1 p.m.

The Razorbacks (17-13) lost eight of their last nine games to close the regular season, and Neighbors said that missing urgency could have been the difference in some of the close losses. He blames himself for that.

Arkansas enjoyed a stretch of four consecutive SEC victories, including a victory at Tennessee, a month ago. Soon after that, Neighbors mentioned to his team about being postseason eligible for the Women's National Invitation Tournament, which he believes took away some of that urgency.

"I think this time of year teams need a little desperation," Neighbors said. "We haven't had that for a while. I think that could have been the difference in some of those one-point games, and I take full blame for all that.

"I'm gonna try to instill a little chip on our shoulder. It was a tactical mistake on my part, and I hate that I did that."

The SEC Tournament begins today with the bottom four teams facing off in play-in games. Ole Miss takes on Florida, and Alabama faces Vanderbilt.

Neighbors still believes his team will play in the postseason even if it's the WNIT. But the Razorbacks have a shot to make a run in the SEC Tournament with teams such as Mississippi State and LSU on the opposite side of the bracket, Neighbors said.

Arkansas, the No. 10 seed in the tournament, has lost both regular-season meetings against No. 7 seed Georgia. Neighbors isn't one of those who thinks it's necessarily an advantage playing a team a third time.

"It's a hard matchup for us because they have really athletic guards that can keep you out of the paint," Neighbors said. "If you do happen to get by them, they've got the best shot blocker in Georgia history. I'm not that whole, 'It's hard to beat somebody three times in a year' guy.

"It's not if you're better than them."

Arkansas lost 80-72 at home, then 93-83 at Georgia. Neighbors said his team's defense must be better Thursday.

"We've gotta come up with a few more stops each quarter," Neighbors said. "I think our offense has been OK. But I think against them defensively, they're a team we really struggle to defend in the paint. We've tried a couple of different things, so we'll try a third thing.

"I am not gonna try the same thing over and over and expect a different result. We will try some different things."

Redshirt sophomore Chelsea Dungee leads the Razorbacks in scoring and ranks second in the SEC, averaging 19.5 points per game. She earned second-team All-SEC honors from the coaches and The Associated Press, which was announced Tuesday.

AP All-SEC women’s teams

The Associated Press’ All-SEC women’s basketball team selected by a

16-member panel and announced Tuesday:

FIRST TEAM

PLAYER SCHOOL POS. HT. YEAR

Chennedy Carter Texas A&M G 5-7 Soph.

Sophie Cunningham Missouri G 6-1 Sr.

Anriel Howard Mississippi State F 5-11 Sr.

u-Teaira McCowan Mississippi State C 6-7 Sr.

Caliya Robinson Georgia F 6-3 Sr.

SECOND TEAM

Rennia Davis Tennessee G/F 6-2 Soph.

Chelsea Dungee Arkansas G 5-11 Soph.

Tyasha Harris South Carolina G 5-10 Jr.

Rhyne Howard Kentucky F 6-2 Fr.

Maci Morris Kentucky G 6-0 Sr.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State

COACH OF THE YEAR Vic Schaefer, Mississippi State

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR Rhyne Howard, Kentucky

u-unanimous

Sports on 03/06/2019

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