UK Women's Basketball

Arkansas extends UK women's road woes

Arkansas' Keira Peak, left, battled for a loose ball with Kentucky's Bernisha Pinkett, second from left, and Samantha Drake. Reaching in from the right was Arkansas guard C'eira Ricketts (22), a Louisville native who scored 19 points.
Arkansas' Keira Peak, left, battled for a loose ball with Kentucky's Bernisha Pinkett, second from left, and Samantha Drake. Reaching in from the right was Arkansas guard C'eira Ricketts (22), a Louisville native who scored 19 points. ASSOCIATED PRESS

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Kentucky couldn't touch down in Lexington fast enough.

When jet wheels hit runway, the No. 10 Cats no doubt will be happy to be home, putting an end to a bumpy road trip that started with a close loss at No. 3 Duke on Tuesday and then ended with a 78-67 loss at No. 25 Arkansas on Thursday night.

But getting home won't change the sour taste in Coach Matthew Mitchell's mouth.

"I won't be happy to be anywhere right now with this kind of performance tonight," he said. "It's all mental. We didn't go hard last night. We didn't go hard yesterday or today. They just decided they were going to be real low energy."

Arkansas (13-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) came out high energy after suffering its first loss last out at Florida.

Coach Tom Collen said the previous Razorbacks teams that started off so strong in non-conference play and then flopped in the SEC are a thing of the past.

"The difference is this team is starting to grow up," he said. "They're a little more mature."

They didn't hang their heads after the Florida loss, he said.

They regrouped.

"In the locker room before the game, the players were confident," Collen said. "They said, 'Coach we've got this, we're ready for this.' I wanted to believe them in the worst way."

It was obvious early on when the Hogs used a 12-4 run to end the first half. They held UK (11-3, 0-1 SEC) to just one field goal in the final 6:36 of the first half and 23.5 percent shooting.

Collen said the Hogs' zone defense probably caught Kentucky off guard.

"They had to have been a little bit shocked," he said. "We haven't played a possession of zone all year and we came out in a two-three zone and trapped them and disrupted them offensively. And if they can't score, they can't press. And if they can't press, they can't score."

The Razorbacks had balanced scoring with four players in double digits, paced by Louisville native C'eira Ricketts' 19 points and six rebounds despite "losing part of her dinner at halftime" with a stomach bug, Collen said.

Fellow guard Lyndsay Harris added 18 points for the Razorbacks, who had fallen to UK eight straight times, including three in a row in Bud Walton Arena.

Ricketts said it was a statement game, much like an earlier win this season over a ranked Oklahoma team. "There are still people out there that thought we were a fluke," she said. "We just beat our second top-10 team and that should show everyone a lot."

What it showed Mitchell was his team has a long way to go. Before the game, the team talked about the importance of three areas: hustle plays, rebounding and making good decisions with the ball.

"We really failed miserably in all of those categories when they mattered," he said.

Arkansas led by as many as 18 points in the second half before UK cut it to nine on a Dunlap layup with less than three minutes to play, but it got no closer.

Dunlap secured her 25th career double-double with her game-high 26 points and 13 rebounds. A'dia Mathies added 13 points and six rebounds before fouling out.

The Cats' shooting for most of the game was dismal.

They missed all but one of their first 11 three-point attempts and hovered around 25 percent shooting for most of the night.

For the game, they hit 28.4 percent of their shots and allowed Arkansas to hit 50.9 percent from the field.

It was the first team this season to shoot better than 50 percent against the Kentucky defense.

"I was so disappointed with effort tonight, that it was so poor," Mitchell said. "It was a thorough beating by Arkansas. They were the better team tonight, no doubt about it."

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