Neighbors notches 100th win as Arkansas beats Kent State

By: Ethan Westerman
Published: Thursday, November 17, 2022
Mike Neighbors watches action on the court during Arkansas’ game against Kent State on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
( J.T. Wampler)
Mike Neighbors watches action on the court during Arkansas’ game against Kent State on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Mike Neighbors logged his 100th win as head coach of the Arkansas women’s basketball team Thursday as the Razorbacks beat Kent State 80-59 inside Bud Walton Arena.

Arkansas (4-0) led by as many as 27 points and shot 45.5% from the floor. The Razorbacks distributed the ball well, finishing with 19 assists on 30 made field goals.

They also scored 38 points in the paint. Neighbors said his team played its best game yet.

“I'm proud of everybody,” Neighbors said. “I thought everybody played good. They are a really hard team to prepare for, especially on one day prep. The way the calendar fell with who we've played and what we have coming up, the off day had to come the day before yesterday.

“I thought our attention to detail, our focus, that was without a doubt our most complete game so far.”

The Razorbacks were sizzling from the game’s first tip. Arkansas shot 50% in the first quarter, when six players scored and Samara Spencer had seven points.

Spencer finished with a game-high 22 points. The sophomore guard was 8-of-13 shooting on the night, including 3 of 6 from three-point range.

“A lot of our teammates are willing to pass up an open shot for themselves to get others involved,” Spencer said. “I just feel like with us being in the right spots at the right time, flowing in our offense, it just opens the floor up for so many other people.

“It's easy to find them when they're in the right spot.”

Spencer also led the team with seven rebounds and seven assists.

“I wish I had her on my fantasy team tonight,” Neighbors said.

Arkansas scored 20-plus points in back-to-back quarters for the first time this season and led 46-29 at halftime. Senior forward Erynn Barnum scored nine of her 20 points in the second quarter.

“I love how aggressive she's playing,” teammate Chrissy Carr, who chipped in 12 points, said of Barnum. “She's playing super tough around the paint and getting offensive rebounds. And it's something where you look up, she gets a couple layups, and you look up (again) and she has 20-plus points.

“I'm proud of the way that she's playing.”

The Razorbacks outscored Kent State by four points in the second half, including 16-13 in the fourth quarter, to cruise to the 21-point win.

The victory made Neighbors one of four coaches in school history to reach the 100-win milestone. Now in his sixth season at Arkansas, he was quick to credit each of the teams that helped him reach the mark.

“I think to get to 100 is a good indicator of what our kids have done,” Neighbors said. “Our staff has worked hard, because we don't schedule easy. You look at who that 100 is, there's a Baylor in there, there's a UConn in there.”

The win gives Arkansas its best start since 2019, a season in which the Razorbacks began with a 5-0 record. 

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