The No. 10 Arkansas women’s basketball team lost against the No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats 75-64 Dec. 31 at Memorial Coliseum in the team’s Southeastern Conference opener.
The Razorbacks started off strong in the first half, maintaining a lead against Kentucky until halfway through the second quarter. Senior guard Chelsea Dungee contributed eight points during the first and second quarters, and led the team with 20 points by the end of the game. Dungee reached the 20-point plateau for the fourth time this season.
Both teams scored consistently during the third and fourth quarters until the last few minutes of the game. Kentucky players shot 50% from the field and 3-point range, which helped them pull off the win.
Arkansas forced 16 turnovers and led against Kentucky for 14 minutes of the game.
Kentucky managed to prevent Arkansas from succeeding at any of their offensive strategies, said Arkansas head coach Mike Neighbors in a postgame press conference.
“I knew (the Wildcats) were good coming into the game,” Neighbors said. “I thought they played great. I thought they were timely, I thought they hit big shot after big shot and then came up with loose balls and stops when they really needed it.”
Even though the Razorbacks lost, the team had four players score in double digits, including Dungee, senior guard Amber Ramirez, senior guard Destiny Slocum and sophomore forward Erynn Barnum.
Arkansas has averaged over 10 three-pointers per game in the non-conference season. The team only shot 5-21 from the 3-point line, which contributed to its season-low point total.
Neighbors praised Kentucky’s defensive gameplay because the team managed to hold Arkansas to fewer shot opportunities.
“That was their game plan I think,” Neighbors said. “To make sure we didn’t get to the foul line a whole bunch because if we get to the foul line and make three’s, that’s where we’re really tough to guard, but they took that away from us.”
Neighbors said he thinks the Razorbacks played really well, but Kentucky played better and was ultimately more prepared. Neighbors hopes Arkansas will become more prepared before its next game against Mizzou, he said.
The Razorbacks are scheduled to play Mizzou on Sunday, Jan. 3 at 4 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.