Dungee’s 41 not enough for Arkansas
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.”
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.