Quick start not enough as Missouri women fall to No. 21 Arkansas

The Tigers had a strong defensive start but couldn’t keep pace with the Razorbacks’ Chelsea Dungee.

Once again, Missouri women’s basketball (4-13, 1-3 SEC) looked like an upset contender on the road against ranked competition, but the Tigers ultimately proved to be no match for No. 21 Arkansas (14-3, 2-2 SEC), falling on the road 90-73.

The Tigers jumped out to an early lead through tremendous defense, holding Arkansas scoreless through the first four minutes of the first quarter. The Razorbacks missed their first 14 shots from the field, allowing Missouri to establish a 12-point lead.

Senior guard Amber Smith found herself in foul trouble early, picking up two personals in the first 63 seconds of the game. She spent all but two minutes of the first half on the bench, which gave freshman forward Hayley Frank an opportunity to take charge. She scored 12 points in the first half to keep the Tigers close.

Arkansas quickly settled into the game behind Chelsea Dungee, whose 10 second-quarter points gave her team a lead entering the break. Her 15-point performance in the third quarter gave the Razorbacks the separation they needed to secure victory.

Frank picked up her fourth foul during the third quarter, forcing coach Robin Pingeton to limit her leading scorer’s time on the floor. She eventually fouled out of the game halfway through the fourth with 19 points.

As Dungee, who finished with 38 points, and the Razorbacks kept rolling, Missouri struggled to keep up with its ranked opposition. Emotions flared for the Tigers near the end of the game when Pingeton had to calm Nadia Green after the junior guard drew a technical foul for swatting the ball away after the whistle.

Missouri’s difficulty down the stretch was mirrored by difficulty finishing at the rim. After making four of their first five layup opportunities, the Tigers finished 13-30 underneath the basket and didn’t have as many chances at the charity stripe.

Things aren’t likely to get any easier for Missouri anytime soon. The Tigers host No. 4 South Carolina on Thursday, then face Mississippi, No. 10 Texas A&M, No. 14 Kentucky and No. 21 Arkansas again in a nightmarish stretch of scheduling.

Edited by Wilson Moore | wmoore@themaneater.com

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