Paul Boyd is a sports reporter for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He was voted Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2018.
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL Arkansas rolls over Southwest Baptist 115-53
Image from Arkansas' win over Southwest Baptist Monday Oct. 29, 2018 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Mike Neighbors said his team is faster than a year ago and the Razorbacks looked the part in Monday's exhibition game in Bud Walton Arena.
The Razorbacks got to the basket almost at will early and overwhelmed Division II Southwest Baptist 115-53.
Arkansas 115, Southwest Baptist 53
Southwest Baptist 14 17 14 8 53
Arkansas 32 31 31 21 115
Southwest Baptist: Bailey 15, Strong 14, Vierkant 6, Tibbits 6, Henderson 4, Smith 3, Wilson 3, Bandy 2.
Arkansas: Gaulden 27, Dungee 16, Doumbia 15, Tolefree 13, Monk 12, Williams 10, Mason 4, Zimmerman 4, Northcross-Baker 4, Springler 3, Thomas 3, Weaver 2, Stout 2.
Three-Point Goals: Southwest Baptist 8-25, Arkansas 9-22. Rebounds: Southwest Baptist 40, Arkansas 58. Turnovers: Southwest Baptist 23, Arkansas 10.
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials: Brian Hall, Marcus Clayton, D’Lynn Schertz.
Arkansas applied a quick knockout punch with an early 18-0 run keyed by lightning-quick sophomore A'Tyanna Gaulden, a transfer from Florida State, who had seven points and three assists in the first quarter. Chelsea Dungee's free throws with 4 minutes, 21 seconds left in the first quarter gave the Razorbacks a 22-2 lead.
Arkansas set exhibition game records for points scored, margin of victory, field goals made and 3-point field goal percentage.
Gaulden led all scorers with 27 points on 11 of 18 shooting, but she had plenty of company as five other Razorbacks scored in double figures.
Dungee, a transfer from Oklahoma playing in her first game, too, added 16 points in 15 minutes. Freshman Rokia Doumbia added 15, Alexis Tolefree 13, Malica Monk 12 and Kiara Williams 10.
Neighbors could not have been more pleased as his team played fast to score 115 points, but played well defensively and also limited the turnovers.
"I thought it was incredibly fast," Neighbors said. "I don't think we made three for a long time, we got so many half-court layups. I don't know how many points in the paint we got, but it felt like a whole bunch. I thought our pace was outstanding.
"Good night for us to really check a whole lot of boxes. My math is 111 shots combining field goals and free throws and only 10 turnovers. So functionally fast, check. Transition defense was a little spotty at times, but hold a team to 27 percent."
The Razorbacks showed off their outside shooting touch in the second quarter, making six of eight 3-pointers. Alexis Tolefree made three 3-pointers in a row at one points and finished with 11 points in the first half.
Neighbors liked what he saw from those playing their first game as a Razorback. Gaulden and Dungee both redshirted last year after transferring, while Tolefree was a junior college transfer and Doumbia, a true freshman.
"I.T. (Gaulden) has waited a year to play and that's a roller-coaster year if nobody's ever had to go through it," Neighbors said. "It's so hard to show up and practice when you know there's no game. I thought Alexis Tolefree looked very natural. I didn't think Rokia looked like a newcomer and then the returners did their thing."
• Dungee's elbow jumper with 52 seconds left in the first quarter gave Arkansas a 29-11 lead and was the Razorbacks' first field goal outside the paint.
• Arkansas hit the 100-point mark on Tolefree's layup with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, giving the Razorbacks a 100-51 lead.
• Rezabek Bailey, a 5-8 junior, led Southwest Baptist with 15 points.
Arkansas plays host to East Central (Okla.) University at 7 p.m. Thursday in its final exhibition game. The Razorbacks open the season at home against Northwestern (La.) State on Nov. 9. Southwest Baptist plays at Iowa State on Thursday.
Sports on 10/30/2018
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