The Arkansas women’s basketball team took on No. 1 South Carolina, falling 92-46 on the road Sunday in a game in which it was simply outmatched.
The most important factor in the loss was the rebounding differential. Arkansas finished the game with 17 compared to South Carolina’s 74. Securing the boards continues to be an issue for the Razorbacks, who have been outrebounded by an average of 25.6 in their five losses this season.
“When they went big, we couldn’t do anything with them around the basket or on the boards,” Arkansas head coach Mike Neighbors said. “Then we got frustrated and that was when we allowed ourselves to be tired. We were physically tired, but you can fight through it mentally and you can trick them and all that stuff. That was their tactical move, to go big, and we didn’t have an answer for it.”
The Razorbacks kept it close for the majority of the first quarter, thanks in large part to redshirt seniors Erynn Barnum and Chrissy Carr. The duo scored six points each — the former got it done at the free throw line, while the latter made it rain from beyond the arc.
Arkansas trailed 21-17 through nine minutes of play, but things got out of hand quickly. South Carolina’s Laeticia Amihere finished the period with four straight free throws to extend the lead to eight going into the second quarter.
The Gamecocks rode that momentum throughout the second period, outscoring the Razorbacks 28-7, including a 15-0 run, brought to an end by sophomore Samara Spencer blowing past her defender for a right-handed layup.
“We did hit a wall,” Neighbors said. “It became obvious. When you’re going up against a team like South Carolina at home, playing really really good, they just frustrate you. You can do a lot of right things and then they make you wrong at the end of it.”
The Hogs struggled in all aspects during the second quarter, trailing 53-24 at halftime. They were outscored by 21, outrebounded by 17 and were incapable of guarding South Carolina’s Zia Cooke, who finished the first half with 19 points while shooting 75% from the field.
Despite being outscored by 14 points during the third period, there was one bright spot for the Razorbacks: the play of Spencer. The shifty guard scored seven of Arkansas’ 10 points while shooting 60% from the field. Just one other Razorback made a field goal, leading to a 77-34 deficit going into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was largely uneventful. South Carolina sat its starters throughout the period and closed it out to hand Arkansas its fifth loss of the season.
After going 0-2 against the top two teams in the Southeastern Conference, the schedule lightens up for the Hogs, who will take on 15-4 Alabama at 6 p.m. Thursday in Bud Walton Arena. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network and stream live on the ESPN app.