The Arkansas women’s basketball team was outmatched Friday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament and fell 92-69 to the Utah Utes in Austin, Texas.
Utah came out firing on all cylinders, opening the game with a 10-0 run. From there, the scoring throughout the first quarter was even, but Arkansas was never able to fully recover. A late layup from junior Makayla Daniels cut the deficit to 20-12 going into the second quarter.
“We ran into a really really good team that played really, really well,” Arkansas head coach Mike Neighbors said. “They were very well prepared.”
Arkansas struggled to find its rhythm offensively, going 0-11 from behind the arc in the first half. Utah continued its hot shooting and pushed the lead to as many as 19 points in the second frame. Going into halftime, Utah enjoyed a big 44-27 lead over Arkansas.
“When we didn’t respond offensively, I think it affected us defensively early,” Neighbors said following the game.
It was more of the same in the third quarter as the Utes kept the Hogs at bay, never allowing the Razorbacks to get any closer than 11 points behind. Heading into the final quarter of action, Utah held a 68-52 advantage.
Leading 74-62 with just over six minutes to play in the ballgame, Utah scored 18 straight in just over four minutes to push its lead to 30 with 2:12 left to play.
The Razorbacks never quit, scoring the game’s last five points, but it was not nearly enough and the Hogs made their second NCAA Tournament opening-round exit in a row.
“We allowed (the Utes) to set the tone,” Daniels said. “And they had momentum pretty much the whole game.”
Arkansas finished the 2021-22 season with an 18-14 record, but with a strong returning core and an influx of talent coming into the program, the Razorbacks will get another opportunity to make some noise on the national scene next season.
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