Balanced scoring takes Arkansas into tournament final

MANHATTAN, Kansas – A trio of Razorbacks with 12 points each led the University of Arkansas to a 79-46 win over Mississippi Valley State at Bramlage Coliseum in the opening round of the 14th annual Commerce Bank Wildcat Tournament.

Arkansas, 7-1, moved into today’s championship game of the tournament against either host Kansas State or Alcorn State.

Arkansas got a season high 12 points from Charity Ford. Sophomore Shanita Arnold and senior Whitney Jones also score 12.

“We’re happy to get the win and advance to the tournament final,” UA head coach Tom Collen said. “You can always find things you want to improve in a game like this, but we’ll take a 30-point win and move on.”

Arkansas took a 25-point halftime lead and extended it with a season-best three-point shooting effort. Lyndsay Harris led the team with three three-pointers as Arkansas hit 11 for the game, shooting slightly better – 45.8% — from behind the arc than it did overall – 45.2%.

“Lyndsay and Julie Inman got into their shooting rhythm today, and if they’ll keep working like this they will be 40% shooters for the whole year,” Collen said. “They’re learning as freshman, and learning to know when to turn some shots down.”

The Razorbacks had balanced scoring with Harris adding 11 and two more players, Ayana Brereton and Ashley McCray, within a bucket of double figures with eight each.

For the second straight game, Arkansas forced 27 turnovers out of the opponent.

“We got some good work done with our press, but it was hard to keep that pace up as we were shuffling a lot of players in and out of the game,” Collen said. “Sometimes we didn’t have the best lineup on the floor to press. We’ll have to be better with our press tomorrow.”

The opposing post players traded buckets for the opening minutes, but after a short jumper from Latoia Mackey at the 16:12 mark Mississippi Valley went scoreless for the next 10:01.

Meanwhile Arkansas went on a 21-0 run to lead 27-6. Jones led Arkansas with eight points, but the senior spent most of the half in foul trouble.

Valley warmed up in the final six minutes of the half, but the Razorbacks went on a 12-2 run to finish the period ahead 40-15.

The Razorbacks held MVSU to an opponent low for a half this season, and saw 11 of 12 players score as Collen cleared the bench early.

For the game, Ashley Daniels pulled down a career high 11 rebounds to lead Arkansas to a 44-36 advantage that was as wide as 30-15 at halftime. McCray added her career high also with nine rebounds.