DIGEST

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - AN­DREW EPPERSON SPE­CIAL TO THE NWA DEMO­CRAT-GAZETTE

Alexis Tole­free made five three-point­ers and scored 19 points as the Arkansas women’s bas­ket­ball team opened the sea­son by de­feat­ing North­west­ern (La.) State 98-53 at Wal­ton Arena in Fayetteville on Fri­day.

WOMEN ARKANSAS 98, NORTH­WEST­ERN STATE 53

FAYETTEVILLE — Alexis Tole­free air-balled a three-pointer with 3:25 left in the game. She looked at her Univer­sity of Arkansas team­mates and laughed be­fore get­ting back on de­fense.

The ju­nior guard from Con­way didn’t take the miss too se­ri­ously af­ter mak­ing five three-point­ers in a 98-53 vic­tory over North­west­ern (La.) State in the sea­son opener in Wal­ton Arena on Fri­day.

“This is what I dreamed of since I was in sev­enth grade, be­ing able to put the Ra­zor­back jersey on,” said Tole­free, who is in her first sea­son with the Ra­zor­backs af­ter spend­ing the pre­vi­ous two years at Jones County Ju­nior Col­lege in Ellisville, Miss. “It’s a big deal to me. Every game is gonna be me go­ing hard.”

Tole­free fin­ished with 19 points on 5-of-11 shoot­ing, in­clud­ing 5 of 10 from be­yond the arc. She led seven Ra­zor­backs who scored in dou­ble fig­ures, the most to do so in a sin­gle game in pro­gram his­tory.

“We took good shots,” said Mike Neigh­bors, Arkansas’ sec­ond-year coach. “Seven peo­ple in dou­ble fig­ures … I only re­mem­ber do­ing that one time in Temco bas­ket­ball back on Nin­tendo when I had it. That’s great bal­ance.”

While Arkansas’ of­fense of­ten re­lied on Mal­ica Monk to put up video game-like num­bers last year, guards Tole­free, sopho­more Chelsea Dungee and sopho­more A’Tyanna Gaulden have shown glimpses of high-vol­ume scor­ing abil­ity.

“We give Mal fresh legs when I come in and help her out,” Gaulden said af­ter scor­ing 16 points. “Mal is do­ing very good, and then I come in and help her roll.”

Monk scored 12 points, and the se­nior has scored in dou­ble fig­ures in all of her sea­son open­ers with the Ra­zor­backs. She also had three as­sists and two steals Fri­day.

Dungee, Tay­lah Thomas and Rokia Doumbia all had 11 for UA, while Kiara Wil­liams closed out the dou­ble-fig­ure scor­ers with 10.

Arkansas’ an­nounced at­ten­dance was 5,497, which marked a record crowd for the pro­gram’s an­nual “El­e­men­tary Day” game.

SUN BELT WOMEN UALR 69, LOUISIANA TECH 58

Ju­nior guard Kyra Col­lier scored a ca­reer-high 31 points to lead the Univer­sity of Arkansas at Lit­tle Rock to a sea­son-open­ing vic­tory over Louisiana Tech on Fri­day at the Thomas As­sem­bly Cen­ter in Rus­ton, La.

Col­lier is the first UALR player to score 30 or more points in a game since Tay­lor Gault scored 31 against Oral Roberts on Nov. 21, 2012. She got off to a hot start, scor­ing the first four points for the Tro­jans and fin­ish­ing the first quar­ter with 10 of UALR’s 19 points. She had 12 points in the first half as the Tro­jans held a 3522 half­time lead.

The Lady Tech­sters scored 20 points in the third quar­ter on 46.7 per­cent shoot­ing while hold­ing the Tro­jans to 8 points on 27.3 per­cent shoot­ing to take a 48-43 lead af­ter the third quar­ter.

Louisiana Tech ex­tended its lead to 51-44 early in the fourth quar­ter be­fore UALR turned up its de­fen­sive pres­sure. Col­lier’s 21st point tied the game at 5151 with 7:02 left and she would go on to score 10 of the Tro­jans’ 18 points in a game-end­ing 18-7 run.

Sun Belt Con­fer­ence pre­sea­son Player of the Year Ron­janae DeGray scored 10 points and grabbed eight re­bounds for the Tro­jans. Kierra An­thony led the Lady Tech­sters with 21 points.

OK­LA­HOMA STATE 62, ARKANSAS STATE 60

Arkansas State Univer­sity nearly erased a 16-point deficit in the fourth quar­ter on Fri­day as the Red Wolves fell to Ok­la­homa State at Gal­lagher-Iba Arena in Still­wa­ter, Okla.

Ok­la­homa State led 54-38 with 5:15 left, but a 9-0 ASU run over the next 21/2 min­utes cut the lead to 54-47. The Red Wolves worked the deficit down to 61-60 af­ter Jor­dan El­der was fouled on a three-point at­tempt and made all three free throws with six sec­onds to go.

The Red Wolves fouled on the en­su­ing pos­ses­sion and Jaden Hobbs made one of two free throws to give ASU a chance to win or send the game to over­time, but time ex­pired be­fore a shot could be taken.

Jireh Wash­ing­ton led Arkansas State with 15 points and 6 re­bounds, Ly­cia Peevy scored 13 points and Pey­ton Mar­tin fin­ished with 10. Akasha West­brook tied a ca­reer high with 11 re­bounds to go with 6 points and 4 steals.

Brax­tin Miller scored a game-high 23 points for Ok­la­homa State.

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