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Ladybacks End Tough Year, Lose in SEC Tournament

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The Arkansas Razorback women’s basketball team’s season ended Thursday with a 68-51 loss against the Tennessee Volunteers in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Junior forward Jessica Jackson and sophomore guard Devin Cosper combined for 32 points on about 35 percent shooting. Their 13-made field goals made up 65 percent of the Hogs total makes. Jackson and Cosper also combined for 12 rebounds.

Senior forward Melissa Wolff notched a team-high 12 boards in 32 minutes of action while also scoring five points. The rest of the team scored just 14 points including seven from freshman guard Malica Monk. Starter Kelsey Brooks did not score any points.

The Volunteers controlled the contest from the beginning. The first quarter ended with the Vols up 10 and the Hogs struggling offensively with just seven points. Tennessee notched 10 more assists than the Razorbacks. Vols guard Jordan Reynolds contributed a team-high four assists. Diamond DeShields led the Vols with 15 points.

The Hogs finished with a 12-18 overall record and a 3-5 record over the last month of the season while finishing in 10th place in the SEC standings

Signature moments of the season included wins over then-No. 13 Texas A&M, then-No. 13 Tennessee and then-No. 24 Missouri. The season’s lowest point came on Jan. 7 when the team lost by 47 points against South Carolina.

Over the course of the long season, Jackson led the team in scoring with over 16 points per game and was second on the team in rebounding with an average of six per contest while averaging a team-high 31 minutes per game. Wolff led the team with seven boards per game. Cosper was second on the team with nine points per game.

At first glance, head coach Jimmy Dykes’ second season at Arkansas was beaten with regression.

The Hogs only won a single game away from Bud Walton Arena this season compared to the 6-7 record from last year. The Razorbacks also won three more homes games this season than they did the previous year to push their winning percentage to just over 65 percent.

Last year’s squad reached the second round of the NCAA tournament before losing to the Baylor Bears who were eventual Elite Eight participants.

Junior guard Kelsey Brooks averaged a little less than 14 points per game during her sophomore year but her output fell by half this season. Brooks averaged just under seven points per contest. In fact, Jackson was the only Hog to increase her points scored this season after she boosted her average of 15 points to 16 this year.

Dykes’ squad only has one senior out of 12 players. Monk, Jordan Danberry and Keiryn Swenson, all freshman, averaged at least 12 minutes per game each. Danberry also led the team in assists with over two per game despite only starting 13 games all season and averaging 19 minutes per contest. She also scored over six points per game which ties for third most on the Hogs this season.

Arkansas’ 12 wins are the lowest the Hogs have notched in a season since the 2009-10 season but their seven conference wins are the most for the program in four years.

The team’s youth and lack of scoring punch was not such a hindrance last season. The squad won 18 games by scoring one point less per game than they scored this season.

Jackson, an All-SEC first team selection, has increased her scoring output every season while maintaining an average of six rebounds per game.

Next season, the Hogs will return five seniors and one junior. The Ladybacks will have one more year under coach Dykes and plenty of experience under their belt.

The Hogs will await a potential bid to the National Invitational Tournament which begins March 16.

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