Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Logan J. Webster)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - Senior Quistelle Williams dropped in 15 points leading the University of Arkansas in a near miss as they fell, 54-60, to No. 11/10 Tennessee in SEC action in Bud Walton Arena Sunday.
Arkansas (17-10, 5-9 SEC) held a nine-point lead at the break but a second half run by the Lady Vols (22-5, 13-1 SEC) allowed Tennessee to escape with the win.
"We had a few break downs that led to their lead and that was the difference," Calli Berna said. "They trapped the ball screens a lot more in the second half and we didn't respond as well as we needed to."
"We played awfully hard, especially in the first half," Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. "We turned the ball over late in the game and probably turning it over 10 times against Tennessee is pretty good but they came at bad times. We just can't get over the hump this season."
Tennessee did a good job of keeping Arkansas out of the paint in the early minutes of the game but that didn't slow Williams. She stepped out away from the hoop and scored the first seven points of the game. The Razorbacks used a balanced attack and chipped away at the score finishing the first half on a 21-5 run to lead 28-19 at the break.
Arkansas forced 13 Tennessee first half turnovers while committing just four miscues of their own. The paint opened up and Arkansas finished the first 20 minutes with 14 points inside and had eight points off turnovers.
The Lady Vols responded with a run of their own to start the second half and quickly closed the gap finally tying the game at 36 with 14:58 to play. Arkansas had to play catch up from that point on.
The Razorbacks finished the game shooting 24-65 for 36.9 percent but Arkansas struggled to get to the line, going 2-for-4 for the game. Tennessee was 17-22 from the line and it was the difference in the game.
Williams was the only player in double figures for Arkansas. Junior Keria Peak had nine points and Jhasmin Bowen, Berna and Sarah Watkins finished with eight points each.
Berna added nine assists and Arkansas had nine steals in the loss. Arkansas scored 28 points in the paint and got 14 points from the bench but Tennessee out-rebounded the Razorbacks, 46-33.
"Erin Gatling and Keira Peak got up and guarded them pretty tight," Collen said. "Calli is as good a gap defender as there is in the league and we were able to disrupt them a bit. We had a good game plan but give Tennessee credit, they stepped up and finished."
Arkansas hits the road for a league game at Florida Thursday and finishes the SEC season Sunday hosting Ole Miss on Senior Day.