Paul Boyd is a sports reporter for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He was voted Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2018.
Arkansas welcomes struggling Lady Vols to Bud Walton Arena
Tennessee guard Jazmine Massengill (13) dribbles against South Carolina guard Zia Cooke (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina defeated Tennessee 69-48. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
FAYETTEVILLE The Razorbacks moved up a spot to No. 22 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll and re-entered the USA Today Coaches’ Poll at No. 25 this week.
They set scoring records in Southeastern Conference games in back-to-back games with 103 against Kentucky and 108 against Ole Miss on Sunday. The previous record was 102 set in 1998. Arkansas also shot an SEC program record 64 percent from the floor against Ole Miss.
Tennessee comes to Bud Walton Arena on a four-game losing streak, but the Lady Vols’ length could spell trouble for the Razorbacks, Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors said. Teams with good overall size have given Arkansas problems.
“On paper maybe the worst matchup for us all year when you see average size and style of play and pace of play and things like that,” Neighbors said. “They’ve got a formula that’s been really hard for us to crack. I think they lead the county in blocked shots and can stay in front of you.
“It will be the toughest matchup we’ve had in a couple of weeks, certainly since South Carolina.”
Making some mid-range jumpers will be a key. It’s something the Razorbacks have done lately with teams trying to run them off the 3-point line, Neighbors said.
“People are trying that formula out,” Neighbors said. “Amber Ramirez, (Alexis) Tolefree, Chelsea (Dungee) getting her jump shot back. Makayla (Daniels) made a bunch of mid-range shots. We’ve gotta be that. And then I think you have to have a little extraordinary effort in rebounding.”
Senior Alexis Tolefree ranks second on the team in scoring, averaging 15.9 points per game, but she leads the way in SEC play at 18.5 per game. Redshirt junior Chelsea Dungee leads the team at 18.1 points per game, but she’s averaging only 16.3 in SEC play.
Arkansas won in Knoxville, Tenn., last season to snap a four-game skid against the Lady Vols. … Arkansas defeated then-No. 13 Tennessee 64-50 on Jan. 14, 2016, in Bud Walton Arena for the Razorbacks’ last win over a top 15 opponent until beating Kentucky 11 days ago. … The Lady Vols lost 73-71 to Texas A&M on Sunday and fell out of The AP Top 25.
TENNESSEE at 22 ARKANSAS
WHEN Thursday, 6 p.m.
WHERE Bud Walton Arena (19,200), Fayetteville
RECORDS Tennessee 17-8, 7-5 SEC; Arkansas 20-5, 8-4 SEC
SERIES Tennessee leads 31-4
RADIO KQSM-FM 92.1 and KYNG-AM 15-90 in Fayetteville; KFPW-AM 1230 and KHGG-AM 1580 in Fort Smith; KURM-AM 790 and KURM-FM 100.3 in Rogers
TV SEC Network
PROBABLE ARKANSAS STARTING LINEUP
POS NAME, HT., YR.;PPG;RPG
G Chelsea Dungee, 5-11, Jr.; 18.1; 5.0
G Amber Ramirez, 5-9, Jr.; 14.5; 3.6
G Makayla Daniels, 5-8, Fr.; 9.5; 1.8
G Alexis Tolefree, 5-8, Sr.; 15.9; 4.1
F Taylah Thomas, 6-1, Jr.; 6.2; 7.1
COACH Mike Neighbors (55-38) is in his third season at Arkansas.
PROBABLE TENNESSEE STARTING LINEUP
POS NAME, HT., YR.;PPG;RPG
G/F Rae Burrell, 6-1, So.; 10.2; 5.6
G/F Rennia Davis, 6-2, Jr.; 18.1; 8.1
G Jazmine Massengill, 6-0, So.; 7.2; 4.8
F Lou Brown, 6-3, R-Sr.; 4.6; 4.1
C Tamari Key, 6-5, Fr.; 7.4; 4.6
COACH Kellie Harper (17-8) is in her first season at Tennessee.
Tennessee - Arkansas
70.9 Points Scored Per Game 85.0
58.6 Points Allowed Per Game 64.8
46.4 Rebounds Per Game 39.3
17.2 Turnovers Per Game 11.2
44.6 FG Pct. 45.2
33.1 3-Pt. FG Pct. 38.9
65.4 FT Pct. 75.0
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