The No. 19 Arkansas women’s basketball team upset the No. 3 University of Connecticut Huskies on Thursday night at Bud Walton Arena, marking the Huskies’ first loss of the season.
Senior guard Chelsea Dungee played one of the biggest games of her career, scoring a career-high 37 points and remaining unstoppable against the Huskies. She did not falter, even while Arkansas was down for the majority of the game. Dungee made 4-5 of her 3-pointers and drew 10 fouls while the Hogs only committed 13.
“We were down a few tonight and I think that brought us closer together,” Dungee said in a post-game press conference. “We needed each other and had each other’s back on defense and making the extra pass playing together on offense was really the key tonight.”
Head coach Mike Neighbors praised Dungee’s resilience in a postgame press conference.
“There’s performers and there’s performances,” Neighbors said “But that kid, when the big stage and the big shot needed to come, it was crucial and I thought she was so patient and had great awareness and understanding.”
Senior guard Amber Ramirez guided the Hogs toward victory with her 22 points, 15 of which were 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Makayla Daniels also contributed double digits with 11 points.
Dungee commended Ramirez’s performance and expressed her excitement for being able to celebrate the huge win with her team.
“Amber had a great game,” Dungee said. “Our whole team had a great game. We were connected on defense, connected on offense. It was just a huge win.”
Neighbors said the team has struggled to find Ramirez for some 3-point opportunities, but they were able to find her during the game, which proved crucial to pull off the win.
Arkansas and UConn continually switched the lead for the first half until the Razorbacks went off in the third quarter and built their lead. The Hogs opened the half on an 11-0 run, which allowed for the team to take a small break.
“I thought that the third quarter gave us a little bit of breathing room,” Neighbors said. “It gave us some chances to rest and it gave us the chance to play some kids that were a little bit tired rather than having to sub, and it paid off in a big way down the stretch.”
The Huskies had a hard time keeping up with Arkansas’ aggressiveness, but closed the deficit in the fourth quarter and it became a three-point nail biter with seconds left.
“I’m proud of the kids for taking the game,” Neighbors said. “I’m proud of them for wanting to do it and then to come out and perform with all the different things when we could have made excuses about what we’ve been through.”
Arkansas’ next match-up will be against the Auburn Tigers at Bud Walton Arena on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 2 p.m. The game will be available on the SEC Network+.