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Freshman Daniels powers Arkansas to rout of ORU
Arkansas guard Makayla Daniels (43) drives to the lane Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, as she is pressured by Oral Roberts guard Rylie Torrey during the first half of play in Bud Walton Arena.
FAYETTEVILLE Makayla Daniels showed Thursday night why she was named Maryland’s Miss Basketball last season.
The freshman’s game-high 27 points led No. 23 Arkansas to a convincing 96-64 victory over Oral Roberts at Walton Arena.
“That was probably about as good as we’ve played yet,” Arkansas Coach Mike Neighbors said. “This week was probably as good as we’ve practiced this year as well. If we can continue to be this balanced, we’ve got a chance to be pretty good.”
Alexis Tolefree and Amber Ramirez each tallied 18 points, while Chelsea Dungee chipped in 12 for the Razorbacks (3-0), who hit 17 of 32 three-pointers against the Golden Eagles.
Daniels, whose previous high was 11 points Monday against McNeese State, was 6 of 7 on three-pointers against Oral Roberts. Her prep career high was 47 points in a state championship game.
“I guess I was kind of feeling it,” Daniels said.
Neighbors detailed Daniels’ recruiting as a mixture of luck and just convincing her of what the Razorbacks were building.
“She had a really good relationship with a former assistant here [Lacey Goldwire] and just happened to want to find out what we were about,” Neighbors said. “If you go look at the history of Miss Marylands in basketball, they usually go to Maryland, UConn or Notre Dame. So we were certainly glad that we were able to get her.”
Oral Roberts (3-1) was 2 of 20 on three-pointers, turned the ball over 15 times and had a 38-24 advantage in the paint.
Despite that disparity, Arkansas junior forward Taylah Thomas helped hold ORU’s 6-4 center Montserrat Brotons to just three points. Thomas led Arkansas with 10 rebounds but did not score.
“She’s going to have nights like that where she gets a ton of rebounds and doesn’t score, like Dennis Rodman used to do,” Neighbors said. “I don’t have a problem with it because there would have been games two years ago where she just forced shots up. She didn’t attempt a field goal.”
Freshman guard Avery Hughes of Bentonville got in near the end of the game and hit a pair of three-pointers.
“She’s going to be lobbying for playing time at the 2 spot now,” Neighbors said. “It was good to see her do that because she’s done it in practice all the time.”
The Razorbacks will be back in action Sunday with a home contest against Stony Brook. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
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