Arkansas, Tulsa renew series after short break

By: Ethan Westerman
Published: Monday, November 14, 2022
Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors is shown during an exhibition game against Arkansas-Fort Smith on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, in Fayetteville.
( Andy Shupe)
Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors is shown during an exhibition game against Arkansas-Fort Smith on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Mike Neighbors and the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team face a stiff non-conference challenge today when the Tulsa Golden Hurricane visit Walton Arena at 7 p.m.

Tulsa (2-0) is fresh off an 18-win 2021-22 season in which it qualified for the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. The Golden Hurricane have had no problems with the two opponents it has faced this season, winning by a combined 162-77.

“Tulsa is very, very good,” Neighbors said. “They went to the [W]NIT last year and they’ve got everybody back. I watched them a little bit on film last night and they’re impressive. Angie [Nelp] does a heck of a job.”

Nelp is in her second season as head coach of the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa began the season 10-0 under her in 2021, which was the best start and longest winning streak in the program’s history. She began her college coaching career as a graduate assistant for Arkansas under Tom Collen during the 2007-08 season.

“She’s doing a really, really good job over there,” Neighbors said. “They’ve got some transfers in with some good returners. They’ve got depth…I think it’s a team that when you look up at the end of the year, they’re going to be high in the win totals.”

Arkansas has played Tulsa three times under Neighbors, winning each time. The last outing between the programs was in 2019, a game which the Razorbacks won 91-41. Neighbors is glad the series is renewing after a short pause.

“I’m glad that we were able to get that Tulsa series going again,” he said. “They’re such good regional games for us. I haven’t looked at their schedule to see what else they’re doing in nonconference, but I know they won 18 last year, and I know they’re picked really highly. They’re highly regarded in their league.”

Something Nelp’s team has done well early in the year is defend the three-point line. Opponents have shot 9.7% from distance against the Golden Hurricane, averaging 1.5 makes. Tulsa’s three-point defense will be put to the test against the Razorbacks. Arkansas shoots a high volume of threes (21.5 per game), a common trait of Neighbors-coached teams.

A battle to watch will be between forwards Temira Poindexter (Tulsa) and Erynn Barnum (Arkansas). Poindexter was an American Athletic Conference preseason first-team selection and has 17.5 points per game through the team’s early slate. Barnum is averaging a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) and is fresh off a game in which she went 9-of-9 from the free throw line.

It will be a homecoming for Tulsa senior guard Maya Mayberry, who graduated from Fayetteville High School in 2017 and won two state championships under coach Vic Rimmer. She played two seasons for Oral Roberts before transferring to the Golden Hurricane. Mayberry has played twice against Arkansas, averaging 7.5 points in those contests.

“She created so much love for the game for me,” said Rimmer, who plans to be in attendance tonight. “To see her thrive, the fact that she’s still playing college basketball at a high level, is great to see. She’s such a sweet person. Great kid, great family. Her mom, dad, sisters, they’re all just a sweet, beautiful family.”

Her father is Razorback men’s basketball great Lee Mayberry, the third-leading scorer in program history, who was the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round pick in 1992.

Tulsa freshman guard Caroline Lyles also played at Fayetteville for Rimmer before transferring to Argyle (Texas) High School before her senior year.

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