Four players scored in double digits for Arkansas on Thursday night, but they could not hold off the Missouri Tigers as the Lady Hogs dropped their seventh game out of their last eight by a score of 73-67.
Arkansas broke its six-game losing streak Sunday after beating the Ole Miss Rebels 73-61, but they faced a much tougher task Thursday night against Missouri (20-9, 9-6 SEC), a team that beat the No. 5 team in nation, Mississippi State, two weeks ago.
The first meeting between Arkansas and Missouri ended in a blowout victory of 71-53 for the Tigers on Jan. 10. Missouri head coach Robin Pingeton mentioned the improvement she saw in the Razorbacks after the game.
“Arkansas is a much different team than they were a month ago,” Pingeton said. “I think that’s a testament to Mike (Neighbors) and his staff and these players for continuing to work, and we knew it was going to be a dog fight.”
Both teams struggled to put the ball in the basket in the first half as Missouri shot 30.4 percent and Arkansas shot 21 percent from the field. At the break, Missouri held the advantage of the low-scoring affair, 24-16.
“When you get as much film out on each other as is out, there are no secrets,” Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors said, “So it’s about the adjustments.”
The second half was a different story. The Razorbacks came out of the locker room shooting lights out, making all five of their 3-point attempts and taking a four-point lead at the end of the third quarter after being down by eight at halftime.
“Most groups would give up,” Neighbors said. “This group doesn’t.”
But then Missouri caught fire in the fourth quarter, retaking the lead toward the beginning of the final frame and did not surrender the lead the rest of the game. Arkansas got within four points multiple times down the stretch, but some exceptional free throw shooting by the visitors kept the game out of reach for the Hogs. Arkansas committed 23 fouls in the game, 13 in the fourth, and Missouri went 19-20 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
Arkansas scored 51 points in the second half and only turned the ball over four times all game while forcing 21 Missouri turnovers. Missouri outrebounded the Hogs 45-23 and shot 15 more free throws than them.
The Razorbacks are now 17-12 (6-9 SEC) on the season and will take on the No. 19-ranked Texas A&M Aggies in College Station Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.