Dungee’s 41 not enough for Arkansas

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - PAUL BOYD

FAYET­TEVILLE — Arkansas wiped out a 17-point sec­ond-half deficit thanks to a huge ef­fort by sopho­more Chelsea Dungee, but Auburn still es­caped with a 75-72 vic­tory on Sun­day af­ter­noon at Bud Wal­ton Arena.

Auburn made 5 of 6 free throws in the fi­nal 22.2 sec­onds and with­stood Arkansas’ fi­nal pos­ses­sion af­ter the Ra­zor­backs had taken their first lead of the sec­ond half with 1:39 left in the fourth quar­ter.

Arkansas (16-9, 5-6 SEC) has lost four con­sec­u­tive, but Auburn Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said Dungee, who scored 32 of her game­high 41 points in the sec­ond half, made it tough on her team, which led 60-47 af­ter three quar­ters.

“You mean when Dungee went off,” Williams-Flournoy said. “Yeah, that would be what hap­pened. We don’t play man-to-man. We just don’t play man-to-man but there was no way we could come out here and play them in a zone and let them hit threes.

“Dungee got off, that was the change of the game right there.”

Dungee hit four free throws with 1:39 left to turn a 70-67 deficit into a 71-70 ad­van­tage. The 5-11 sopho­more drew a foul on Auburn’s Crys­tal Primm. She was also as­sessed a tech­ni­cal foul, her fifth foul of the game.

But the Ra­zor­backs man­aged just one more point the rest of the game. Auburn’s Unique Thomp­son came up with a big steal and also drew a foul with 22.2 sec­onds left. She hit two free throws to give Auburn the lead for good, 72-71.

Arkansas coach Mike Neigh­bors was pleased with his team’s tenac­ity, ral­ly­ing from a big deficit es­pe­cially with se­nior Mal­ica Monk slowed by an an­kle in­jury. She fin­ished with just two points but had to be helped from the floor be­cause of an an­kle in­jury late in the first half. Monk did re­turn late in the third quar­ter and helped the Ra­zor­backs rally.

“There was a lot of teams that would have quit es­pe­cially with Mal’s in­jury,” Neigh­bors said. “That’s not what this team’s ever been about. We didn’t quit down at LSU the other night. We just didn’t play good.

“Cer­tainly a proud coach to bounce back like we did and have an op­por­tu­nity to win it against a re­ally, re­ally good team that’s start­ing to play good bas­ket­ball.”

Thomp­son fin­ished with 13 points and 12 re­bounds and was one of four play­ers to score at least 10 points for Auburn (18-6, 6-5).

Daisa Alexan­der led Auburn with 18 points, while Ja­niah McKay added 13 and Robyn Ben­ton 11.

Auburn’s team ef­fort off­set Dungee’s huge ef­fort. She hit 10 of 18 from the floor and 4 of 7 from three-point range. She also went 17 of 19 from the free-throw line. The 41

points is the most by a Ra­zor­back in an SEC game and three points shy of all-time sin­gle-game record.

Raven Northcross-Baker was Arkansas’ only other player in dou­ble fig­ures with 12 off the bench.

Neigh­bors said Dungee’s per­for­mance was as good as he’s seen, par­tic­u­larly un­der the cir­cum­stances.

“Need­ing it, know­ing we needed it,’ Neigh­bors said. “Not be­ing re­luc­tant when her num­ber got called. It doesn’t sur­prise me one bit. To play 40 min­utes against that de­fense and do what she did. We had a lot of alumni here telling me that’s as good a per­for­mance as they’ve ever seen, es­pe­cially in this build­ing.

“And man, I’m not gonna tell you it’s not one of the top per­for­mances I’ve ever seen pe­riod.”

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER

Arkansas sopho­more guard Chelsea Dungee tries to shoot while Auburn’s Crys­tal Primm de­fends Sun­day at Wal­ton Arena in Fayet­teville. Dungee had 41 points in the Ra­zor­backs’ 75-72 loss to the Tigers.

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