Arkansas 68, No. 24 South Carolina 47
Tom Collen is finished bemoaning the four-game losing streak to
open Southeastern Conference play at Arkansas.
The Razorbacks coach is much more focused these days on
Arkansas’ SEC winning streak, which improved to a program-best
seven games with a 68-47 win over No. 24 South Carolina on Thursday
C’eira Ricketts scored 16 points and had seven rebounds and
seven assists to lead Arkansas (18-5, 7-4), which hasn’t lost since
a 60-54 defeat at Mississippi on Jan. 12. That was the Razorbacks
fourth in a row, a stretch that included three ranked teams.
Times have certainly changed since for Arkansas – which moved
past the Gamecocks and into fourth in the SEC with the win. The
school hasn’t finished the regular season in the top four in the
SEC since a fourth-place finish during the 1994-95 season.
”I think it was the most important (win),” Collen said. ”…
Right now, we just want to keep this thing going one game at a time
and see if we can’t figure out how to finish in the top four.
That’s something we haven’t talked about for a long time.”
The Razorbacks led by as many as 18 points in the first half
against the Gamecocks (18-6, 7-4), during which they were 13 of 23
(57 percent) from the field. Arkansas forced South Carolina into 23
turnovers, and Ashley Daniels had 13 points and Dominique Robinson
Ricketts, meanwhile, was everywhere while scoring in double
figures for the fourth time in five games. The senior controlled
the tempo from the early going, scoring 11 points in the first
half. She also had two of the Razorbacks’ 16 steals, raising her
career total to 293 – equaling Tracy Webb’s school record set in
”I think we have to take the mentality like `We’re not going to
lose, we can’t lose and we’ve got to keep going,”’ Ricketts said.
”It just feels good to be on this winning streak.”
While Arkansas entered the game looking to make a statement with
its third win over a ranked team, the Gamecocks were coming off
their biggest win of the season – a 64-60 win at Tennessee on Feb.
2.That was South Carolina’s first win over the Lady Volunteers
since 1980 and Tennessee’s first home SEC loss since 2008.
The win helped the Gamecocks enter the rankings this week, but
they weren’t ready to handle the success against the Razorbacks.
South Carolina shot just 35 percent (17 of 48) and its turnovers
led to 26 points by Arkansas – which scored 15 straight points
after Markeshia Grant opened the game with a 3-pointer for the
”What happened was we had a huge letdown,” South Carolina
coach Dawn Staley said. ”It went into our preparation the last
couple of days, and when we don’t prepare well, we don’t usually
”… I thought they wanted the game more than we did, and I
never thought I would say that in coaching the South Carolina
women’s basketball team.”
Ieasia Walker scored 11 points to lead the Gamecocks, who cut
Arkansas’ early double-digit lead to 22-13 midway through the first
half after a Tina Roy 3-pointer.
The Razorbacks once again had an answer, scoring eight-straight
points to push their lead to 31-13. Ricketts had five points during
the run for Arkansas, which made no secret that South Carolina’s
ranking and pregame smiles provided extra motivation as it tries to
reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2002-03
The Razorbacks led by as many as 23 points in the second half,
hoping to make a statement of their own – much like the Gamecocks’
win over Tennessee.
”It’s a big win for our program,” Collen said. ”South
Carolina just jumped into the polls. I’m not sure why we’re not
getting any votes at all in the coaches’ poll, that’s a little
frustrating to me. But maybe we’ll get their attention now with