Paul Boyd is a sports reporter for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He was voted Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2018.
Arkansas gets hot, routs Stony Brook
Arkansas guard Amber Ramirez speaks to her teammates as she brings the ball up the floor against Pittsburg State Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, during the first half of play in Bud Walton Arena.
FAYETTEVILLE — The No. 23 Arkansas women’s basketball team grabbed an early lead Sunday afternoon by getting to the free-throw line, but the Razorbacks put away Stony Brook from the perimeter.
Junior Amber Ramirez keyed a 21-3 second-quarter scoring run to help Arkansas remain undefeated and cruise to an 88-58 victory in front of 2,045 in Bud Walton Arena.
Ramirez poured in a game-high 26 points and spearheaded a second-quarter scoring barrage when Arkansas (4-0) hit its final eight shots of the half, including six three-pointers. The 5-9 guard accounted for 12 of those points on four three-pointers in that final five minutes of the first half.
Junior Chelsea Dungee said the team did a good job of sharing the ball after starting the game driving hard to the basket.
“It’s just hard to guard a team when we play inside-out,” said Dungee, who hit 8 of 9 free throws and finished with 19 points. “I think we drove it a lot at the beginning and they started backing off that allowed us to have those wide-open threes.
“Being able to get to the basket, that quite often drew the defense in, and I think they changed their game plan a little bit, and they sagged off some really good shooters and we made them pay for it.”
Stony Brook (3-1) trailed by 10 points early in the second quarter but got to within 30-25 on Kaela Hilaire’s drive with 4:34 left in the first half.
That’s when the Arkansas onslaught began.
Ramirez, who hit 8 of 11 shots and 6 of 9 from three-point range, took a nice baseline feed from Rokia Doumbia in the corner and made the three-pointer to start the string of eight consecutive field goals. When the dust cleared, Arkansas led 51-28 with 53 seconds left in the half.
Ramirez hit two more threes, then Makayla Daniels added one before Ramirez hit another. Dungee then got into the act with a step-back three-pointer for a 48-28 advantage with 1:44 left in the half. The three-point barrage came in less than three minutes of elapsed time.
Arkansas Coach Mike Neighbors said his team played probably as well as it has played all season during those five minutes.
“Starting with Ro making a tremendous baseline pass to a wide-open Amber, and that got Amber one going,” Neighbors said. “And if you let her see one go in if you’ll notice we won two straight set plays for her because if she sees one there’s liable to be two more go in.
“It blew open a close game. I don’t know what the score was at that time, but you look up and it’s 20 and that completely changes their halftime.”
Dungee was also in double figures with 19, while Daniels chipped in 13 for Arkansas. Taylah Thomas and Erynn Barnum tied with a game-high nine rebounds.
The Razorbacks got to the free-throw line early, making 12 of 19 in the first 15 minutes of the game, but broke loose from the perimeter late in the first half.
Anastasia Warren was Stony Brook’s lone player in double figures with 15 points.
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