FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Chelsea Dungee scored 25 points and No. 10 Arkansas hit all eight of its free throws in the final 2:08 to beat Missouri 91-88 on Sunday.
Amber Ramirez, who was perfect at the line down the stretch, finished with 17 and Makayla Daniels added 16 before she left the game with 1:28 remaining with an injury for the Razorbacks (10-2, 1-1 SEC).
The Tigers trailed by double-digits in the second half but continued to battle, pulling within 66-63 with 7:10 left.
After Haley Troup’s midrange shot pulled Missouri within three points, the Tigers had a chance to tie when the Razorbacks passed the ball across the half-court line on the next possession. Aijah Blackwell attempted to track down the loose ball, but instead knocked the ball out of bounds and Arkansas retained possession.
”I thought that was a good hustle play by Aijah,” said Missouri coach Robin Pingeton. ”I don’t know if she touched it or not, but she obviously did. I would have loved for that to be our possession, but obviously it wasn’t.”
Instead, Arkansas kept the ball and got back-to-back 3-pointers from Dungee and Destiny Slocum to give itself some breathing room at 72-63, and the Razorbacks needed every bit of it.
Missouri (4-3, 0-2) stayed within four points at 85-81 and again 89-85 late, but Arkansas was able to hold on.
”We knew they were gonna come,” said Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors. ” You look at their second half. They hung 54 on us. They are an explosive team. I said it in pregame to anybody who would listen to me.”
Blackwell led the way for Missouri with 20 and Haley Troup added 15 for the Tigers.
Missouri’s scheduled SEC game against Vanderbilt on Thursday has already been postponed. Pingeton said the Tigers were searching for an opponent.
”I know we’ve put out some feelers,” she said. ”I’d love to get another game. I know our kids need to play right now.”
Neighbors was pleased with his team’s rebounding on the defensive end. Although Missouri claimed a 42-32 rebound advantge, the Razorbacks held Missouri to fewer than 10 offensive rebounds.
”They only got eight offensive rebounds on us which is an absolute slam-dunk victory for us,” said Neighbors.
Arkansas got a momentum boost at the halftime buzzer when Ramirez knocked down a 3-pointer that beat both the shot-clock and the second-quarter horn. Her shot from the top of the key gave Arkansas a 45-34 halftime lead.
HE SAID IT
”This game was crucial for us,” said Neighbors. ”You look, we’re coming off a tough road game at Kentucky, and we got Tennessee and Texas A&M up next . 1-1 is so much better than 0-2.”
Missouri: Plays at Auburn next Sunday.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks will be on the road Thursday at Tennessee.