Jones' free throw extends season
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FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas senior Whitney Jones sank the winning point as a part of her sixth double-double of the season on Monday, posting 22 points, one point shy of her career-high, and 11 rebounds in the Razorbacks (18-13, 6-8) 61-60 thrilling overtime win over the Oklahoma State Cowgirls (17-16, 4-12) in the second round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament at Bud Walton Arena. “There is no doubt in my mind that Whitney Jones is one of the five hardest working player in Razorback history, and she showed that determination tonight,” UA head coach Tom Collen said. “I’ve said all along that a big key to this tournament is seniors that want to keep playing, and Whitney and Ayana (Brereton) proved that.” Jones sank a free throw with 16 seconds left in overtime and the teams tied at 60, giving the Razorbacks the win and extending their season for at least one more game. She backed it up with the defense on Oklahoma State star Andrea Riley, forcing a poor final shot with seconds left in overtime. Arkansas advances in the WNIT to face Kansas at Lawrence, Kan., on Thursday, March 26, at 7 p.m. Defense was the story for both teams from the start. Arkansas scored 21 points off 25 OSU turnovers and bagged a Razorback WNIT record 16 steals, as the Cowgirls coaxed 15 turnovers from Arkansas. At no time was that defense more apparent than the start of OT as the Razorbacks went on a 5-0 run thanks to three OSU turnovers. Riley brought the Cowgirls back to tie the game at 58-58, which set the stage for Jones. Jones broke the tie with 1:23 left on an inside jumper, which OSU’s Megan Byford matched with 58 seconds left. Jones was fouled with 16 seconds left, hitting one of two for the 61-60 lead. It was a see-saw battle in regulation. Arkansas overcame a nine and a half minute stretch in the first half in which they scored a single bucket with stingy defense to stay close, 26-25, at half. OSU built a six-point lead early in the second, but an 11-3 run fueled Arkansas’ comeback to tie the game 46-46. Cunningham bagged a double-double in the contest, posting 10 points and 11 rebounds. Riley, who entered the game averaging 23 points a game scored 21 points of her own. Along with Jones, Brereton had 11 points for the Razorbacks before fouling out of the game.