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Women try to Salvage Season

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The Arkansas women’s basketball team had a Valentine’s Day matchup against the Missouri Tigers Sunday in Columbia, Missouri, where they fell to the Tigers 69-48, despite solid performances from freshmen Malica Monk and Jordan Danberry.

The Hogs’ performance drops them to 10-15 overall for the season, with a 5-7 Southeastern Conference play record.

Arkansas performed poorly shooting the ball in the first half and trailed by 25 points by halftime, down 42-17 after two quarters. Two four-plus minute scoring droughts in the first 20 minutes of action cost the Razorbacks in the long-run, only shooting 23 percent from the field.

The Razorbacks continued to struggle scoring the ball into the second half, as the team finished the game 20-for-60 shooting from the floor.

Despite a poor shooting performance, Arkansas took great care of the ball with only nine turnovers in the contest, the second fewest of any this year. Head Coach Jimmy Dykes’ team also crashed the boards with aggression, snagging 32 rebounds in the game.

Danberry, the freshman guard from Conway, scored 12 points against the Tigers, the eighth time she has scored double figures this season. North Little Rock product Monk led the way for Arkansas with 15 points.

The leading scorer for the Hogs, Jessica Jackson, only managed two points Sunday, while senior Melissa Wolff had two points as well and four rebounds.

The Hogs have a tough couple of matchups coming up against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bud Walton Arena and the nationally ranked Kentucky Wildcats on the road in Lexington.

Arkansas ranks second-to-last in the conference in points with just under 61 per game. Alabama, the first opponent of the next Razorback slate of games, ranks eighth with right under 67 points per contest.

The Crimson Tide possess a fairly balanced offense with three players averaging right around 10 points per game. Arkansas’ Jackson, the fourth-leading scorer in the SEC, is the only player averaging above 10 points for the team with about 17 per contest.

Where the Crimson Tide have excelled all season is on the defensive end. Alabama is stifling on the interior with five blocks per game. The Tide also plays great defense on the perimeter with 10 steals per game. They average in the top five in both categories.

Arkansas is solid on the glass, with 35 rebounds per game on the season, ranking ninth in the conference right in front of Kentucky and Alabama, respectively.

Arkansas will need to shoot the ball much better than they did against Mizzou Sunday in order to pull out a win against a defensive-minded Alabama team.

Jackson has to be the star she has been all season for the Hogs and lead the offensive attack as their go-to option. They also will have to play solid defense to grab a win and protect the home floor.

The Kentucky Wildcats are a fast paced offense that scores 74 points per game, with great ball movement, averaging almost 15 assists per game.

Kentucky guard Makayla Epps is top-five in the conference in both points and assists with 17 and four per contest. The guard play for Arkansas is going to need to be phenomenal against Epps and Wildcat guard Janee Thompson, who leads the SEC in assists, to pull an upset on the road against a top-10 team.

Arkansas will need to make the most of their opportunities offensively, as Kentucky is about as good as Arkansas on the boards. The Hogs will need to box out well, especially against Kentucky forward Evelyn Akhator, who averages the league’s third best nine rebounds per game.

It will be interesting to see if the Hogs can begin the ending stretch of the season with a few quality conference wins. Arkansas will take on Alabama Thursday.

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