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Dungee, Razorbacks keep rolling
Arkansas' Chelsea Dungee shoots a free throw during a game against New Orleans on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE – Chelsea Dungee seems to have picked up just where she left off last season, propelling the Arkansas women’s basketball team on both ends of the court.
The junior guard had 22 points in No. 23 Arkansas’ season-opening win over New Orleans on Friday, and followed up with a team-high 19 in the Razorbacks’ 101-58 trouncing of McNeese State Tuesday night in Bud Walton Arena.
“She could have probably scored every time she touched it if that’s what we needed to have happen,” said Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors, who rested his star player for most of the second half. “We were able to play through her early – I thought she made some really good decisions tonight.”
Dungee, who has now scored in double digits in 19 straight games dating to last season, added six rebounds - five on the defensive end - to go along with two steals.
“We have really been working on our pace of play, and continue to improve that as we play against better competition,” Dungee said. “It really helps that everyone shot well, we shared the ball well, and that led to more shots.”
The large margin of victory allowed Neighbors to clear his bench early, and give some of the younger players some valuable playing time. The youngsters took advantage of the opportunity, as the five freshmen who played combined for 38 points.
“We got a lot of useable film for a lot of kids, and then we get to rest some of these kids that we usually have play 30 to 35 minutes,” Neighbors said. “I was proud of how all of our freshmen played tonight. Every single one of them stepped up for us tonight”
The Razorbacks took control from the opening tip, jumping out to a 27-15 first-quarter lead, as Dungee converted a pair of three-point plays in the first six minutes, as well as a 3-pointer. Senior Alexis Tolefree scored all nine of her points in the first period.
Freshman Makayla Daniels hit a pair of jumpers early in the second quarter, her second giving Arkansas a 35-19 lead with 5 minutes, 41 seconds left in the half.
The Razorback defense held the Cowgirls to just 10 of 42 field goals in the first half. Sophomore Callie Maddox led McNeese with eight of her team-high 15 before the break.
“We watched a lot of film after our last game and found some things we needed to work on defensively, and we really concentrated on improving those things tonight,” Tolefree said. “I thought we executed pretty good tonight, but there are still a lot of things we need to continue to improve on.”
Junior Taylah Thomas powered in three layups early in the third as Arkansas bumped its lead to 28 points midway through the quarter. Thomas finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, after recording 21 rebounds against New Orleans.
Former Springdale High standout Marquesha Davis converted a layup and free throw, followed by a layup from fellow freshman, and Little Rock Central grad, Erynn Barnum, to give the Razorbacks an 80-46 lead after three.
Barnum and Daniels each chipped in 11 for the Razorbacks. All 12 Razorbacks that played scored at least one point.
“We always want to play fast and move the ball, that’s our plan every game,” Neighbors said. “We put up 100 shots and had 14 turnovers tonight, so that’s where we want to be.”
Arkansas will host Oral Roberts at 7 p.m. Thursday.
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