UA women picked 5th by media

Published: Saturday, November 21, 2020
Arkansas women's basketball coach Mike Neighbors is shown during a game against Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock.
Photo by Jeff Gammons
Arkansas women's basketball coach Mike Neighbors is shown during a game against Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock.

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the SEC preseason media poll released Friday, which is significantly better than where Coach Mike Neighbors started four years ago.

The Razorbacks were selected to finish last among the 14 SEC teams by both the media and the league’s coaches in Neighbors’ first season at Arkansas. This season, Arkansas is rated No. 14 in the country in both The Associated Press and the USA Today coaches preseason polls.

Being picked fifth in the media poll and fourth by the SEC’s coaches in a league that has five teams ranked in the top 15 means something, Neighbors said.

“We know it doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things, for byes in the tournament or automatic bids or any of that stuff,” Neighbors said. “I also think it doesn’t mean nothing. It means something.

“It means we’ve got expectations placed on us by people who follow the sport, people that follow our league and the coaches that are in it. As long as they’re doing polls, I’d rather be picked toward the top.”

Arkansas opens the season at 11 a.m. Wednesday when it hosts Oral Roberts.

Senior Chelsea Dungee was chosen for the eight-person first team, and graduate transfer Destiny Slocum for the eight-person second team by the coaches earlier in the week. No Razorbacks were picked for the six-person All-SEC preseason team selected by the media, which was released Friday.

“Man, that’s a hard team to make,” Neighbors said. “There are some really good players. I do think the SEC is really deep, maybe as deep as we’ve been, and I think you see it in the rankings.

“Chelsea has earned that in her play night in and night out for three years. It’s not a one-game or two-game thing, but an overall thing. Slocum just with her play nationally, she’s been all-conference in the ACC and in the Pac-12 twice.”

Dungee is coming off a second consecutive season where she earned second-team All-SEC honors. The 5-11 guard led the team in scoring (16.9 ppg), field goals made (171) and free throws made (146) last season. She is closing in on several statistical milestones at Arkansas, including the Razorbacks’ all-time scoring record and most free throws made.

Dungee needs 530 points to break Bettye Fiscus’ program-record 2,073 points, and she has scored at least 540 points in each of her previous two seasons. She needs to make 51 free throws to break Fiscus’ record.

Slocum was considered one of the top guards in the country at Oregon State. She averaged 15.2 points, 4.6 assists and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 45.2% from the floor and 36.8% from three-point range. Slocum helped Oregon State to a 49-17 record in her two seasons in Corvallis, including a run to the Sweet Sixteen in the 2018-19 season.

SEC Women's Basketball Media Poll

1 South Carolina

2 Mississippi State

3 Kentucky

4 Texas A&M

5 Arkansas

6 Tennessee

7 LSU

8 Georgia

9 Alabama

10 Florida

11 Missouri

12 Vanderbilt

13 Auburn

14 Ole Miss

Player of the Year

Rhyne Howard, Kentucky

Preseason All-SEC

Rhyne Howard, Kentucky

Aliyah Boston, South Carolina

N’dea Jones, Texas A&M

Unique Thompson, Auburn

Rickea Jackson, Mississippi State

Rennia Davis, Tennessee

Discussion

Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.