FAYETTEVILLE – Georgia’s women Bulldogs love low scoring basketball games.
And with Arkansas shooting an abysmal, 19 of 59 from the field, including but 3 of 16 threes, the Bulldogs got one they loved and won. Georgia prevailed, 64-55 in Thursday night’s SEC game before 1,822 at Walton Arena.
The upset loss for Coach Mike Neighbors Razorbacks ranked 21st and 20th nationally in the AP and Coaches polls, drops them to 15-4 overall, 3-3 in the SEC heading into Sunday’s 2 p.m. SEC game against the Florida Gators at Walton.
Coach Joni Taylor’s Bulldogs improved to 12-7 overall, 3-3 in the SEC and host South Carolina in a Sunday SEC game at Athens, Ga.
“Georgia dictated the tempo from start to finish and that’s not a good formula for us,” Neighbors said. “‘We didn’t shoot well and we committed 20 turnovers and then we start gambling and reaching on defense. Offensively and defensively they affected us. I’m disappointed. Maybe for the first time all year I’m disappointed and I think the team is, too.”
One of Arkansas scoring big three, Chelsea Dungee, Amber Ramirez or Conway’s Alexis Tolefree generally leads Arkansas’ attack that just last Sunday romped, 100-66 over SEC foe Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.
Not Thursday against Georgia with the three shooting a combined 7 for 31 including 2 of 10 threes. Dungee shot 3 of 11 and missed four of 10 free throws scoring 13 while Tolefree shot 2 of 9 scoring nine and Ramirez shot 2 of 11 scoring seven.
Freshman Erynn Barnum of Little Rock Central keeping Arkansas in it in the third quarter until Georgia pulled away with a 20-12 fourth quarter, led Arkansas with 14 points, shooting 6 for 12 including one of two free throws. Barnum’s performance both a nice surprise for the Razorbacks but also the statistical foretelling of their doom.
“We know she’s a good player and can shoot the three,” Taylor said. “But we’d rather have her being their leading scorer and shooting the threes than the other three. I thought we did a good job chasing them off the 3-point and we were lucky that they missed on some good looks.”
Neighbors concurred about Barnum coming through and the lack of one of the stars coming through with her.
“If Erynn doesn’t give us a little spark this thing is over until the fourth quarter starts,” Neighbors said. “I’m sure it they could have anybody but one of our three being player of the game that’s mission accomplished. That’s what they did. You look at plus-miss Erynn is the only one with a positive by her name.”
Tolefree was glad to see Barnum take the lead when others couldn’t.
“ Erynn really gave us an energy boost,” Tolefree said. “If she would have had me, Chelsea, Amber, anybody around her helping her out a little bit the outcome would have been a lot different,” Tolefree said. “We missed shots that we normally make.”
Dungee said for whatever reason, she could see “we came with our energy low.”
Still hung up on hitting 100 against Vandy?
“You play a game and then you forget about it,” Dungee said. “Vandy didn’t beat us. Georgia beat us today. We’ve got to get back in the gym and get back to work.”
In the 29-29 first half, achieved by Ramirez’s buzzer beating three, the lone Arkansas trey of the first half, Georgia point guard Gabby Connally dictated the game’s flow and scored 12 of her game-leading 18 points.
Connally did all that but it was her teammates, Neighbors said, that pulled the Bulldogs away from finishing the the third quarter only up, 44-43 to the 64-55 finale.
Photos courtesy of Craven Whitlow, CW3, Sports Action