The Arkansas women’s basketball team fell short to the No. 7 Tennessee Volunteers 86-83 in overtime Monday, despite 29 points scored by senior guard Amber Ramirez.
Arkansas started out hot against the Volunteers, getting out to a quick 11-4 lead. Junior guard Makayla Daniels missed part of the quarter after landing awkwardly, but returned minutes later.
The Volunteers crawled back into the game as teams ended the first quarter by trading baskets, Arkansas clinging onto a 21-19 lead at the end of the period.
The teams remained neck and neck early in the second quarter, before the Hogs went on a 10-0 run — including two 3-pointers from Ramirez. The Volunteers went on a four-minute scoreless streak during the Arkansas run.
Late in the second quarter, a collision led to Tennessee freshman Sara Puckett landing on the legs of Daniels, who had to be helped off the court for the second time and did not return.
Daniels will miss the Razorbacks’ next game, but the injury is not season-ending, head coach Mike Neighbors said in a press conference Wednesday.
The Razorbacks took a 41-32 lead into the half. The Hogs’ defense controlled the first half, keeping the Volunteers to 34% shooting and forcing nine turnovers while limiting themselves to three.
Arkansas raced out to a 46-33 lead on a 3-pointer from freshman guard Elauna Eaton in the third quarter, before an 11-3 run brought the Volunteers back into the game.
“We were gassed,” Neighbors said. “I was thinking about taking a couple of timeouts there. We were just out of gas.”
Tennessee’s leading scorer, junior Jordan Horsten, scored nine of her 24 points in the third quarter to lead the Volunteers back into the game.
The Vols’ fans came alive as they crept within two points after a Puckett 3-pointer late in the third quarter made it 55-53.
“It’s Thompson-Boling Arena,” Neighbors said. “I don’t know if it was 7,000, (but) it was the loudest 7,000 people I’ve heard in my life.”
In the fourth quarter, a 3-pointer from Tennessee guard Jordan Walker tied the game at 61-61 before a steal and layup from senior guard Rae Burrell gave the Volunteers their first lead of the game. Burrell had eight points in the quarter and finished the game with 21.
The teams traded the lead until junior forward Erynn Barnum pulled down an offensive rebound before finding Ramirez, who tied the game with a pair of free throws in the final seven seconds and sent the game to overtime, 75-75.
Midway through the overtime period, a 3-point play by junior center Tamari Key gave Tennessee its biggest lead of the game before a 3-pointer from Spencer and a steal followed by a Goforth layup tied the game at 83-83.
Horsten gave Tennessee the lead again on a jumper with a minute to play in overtime. Spencer missed a pair of potentially game-tying free throws with 11 seconds remaining, and the Hogs fell to the Volunteers 86-83.
Ramirez’s 29 points were a season-high, and she recorded her fifth game of at least 20 points this season.
“For (Ramirez) to have 29 and eight (rebounds), two assists and only one turnover against them, she’s really putting together an easy first-team all-conference type of year,” Neighbors said.
The Razorbacks’ next game will be Thursday in College Station, Texas, where they will take on Texas A&M at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
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