FAYETTEVILLE- If you have not yet caught the Lady Razorbacks in person or on television this season, you are missing a real treat. Arkansas is off to its best start in almost fourteen years, and the Lady Razorbacks are shooting their way into contention in the SEC.
In a dramatic contrast to the Lady ‘Backs last home game that saw Arkansas rout Florida, the Vanderbilt Lady Commodores, led by head coach and former UConn assistant, Shea Ralph, gave Arkansas all they wanted before the Lady Razorbacks finally won on a buzzer beater by Makayla Daniels. Daniels’ shot from approximately 35 feet out with one second remaining in a tied game, banked off the backboard and into the net for an explosive win for Arkansas.
Senior veteran Makayla Daniels delivered when the Arkansas women’s basketball team (17-3, 4-1 SEC) needed her, banking a shot at the buzzer to elevate the Razorbacks to an 84-81 victory. With Arkansas up by three points with 10 seconds left and no timeouts for either team, Vanderbilt tied the game off a banked 3-pointer, their 13th triple of the night. Daniels took the ball down the other end and banked a halfcourt shot with one second on the clock to call the game, The win matches last year’s regular season win count at 17, while marking the best start for the Razorbacks in SEC play since 2005-06. All five starters reached double digits in scoring for the second time in three games.
Vanderbilt kept earning second-chance opportunities off attacking the glass, leading the Razorbacks 7-4 just four minutes into the game. With the Commodores still ahead, Chrissy Carr knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game at 9-9. Both teams were held into a scoring drought for over two minutes, but Arkansas broke its drought first with a Maryam Dauda layup to help the Razorbacks lead for the first time in the game. Vanderbilt hit a 3-pointer for the last score of the quarter, as the Razorbacks trailed, 12-11.
Saylor Poffenbarger tied the game in the opening minutes of the second quarter with a free throw, and on the next possession, Carr hit her second triple after reaching 500 rebounds in her career shortly before that. Vanderbilt tied the game off a successful and-1, but Makayla Daniels answered on the other end with a triple. The Commodores responded again with another 3-pointer, showing that once Arkansas started to get in a groove offensively, Vanderbilt would answer. At the media timeout, Arkansas had the slight 23-22 advantage. Arkansas closed out the quarter making 5-of-7 field goals, including an Erynn Barnum layup, but a Vanderbilt jumper just before the half cut the deficit and Arkansas led 27-26 at the half.
The lead changed twice until Vanderbilt tied the game at 31 with a 3-pointer. Arkansas pulled ahead once again, but Vanderbilt responded again with a triple. At the media timeout, the game was tied at 37. Arkansas went three of four from the charity stripe to go up by three, but once again, Vanderbilt knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game. Samara Spencer went up to double digits with a layup to pull the Razorbacks back ahead. Another Barnum layup and two Spencer free throws elevated the Razorbacks ahead by six, but a Vanderbilt 3-pointer cut the lead to three, as Arkansas went into the fourth quarter with a 50-47 edge.
Vanderbilt opened the final quarter with a jumper, but Spencer responded with a deep 3-pointer. Spencer did it once again with another deep 3-pointer after the Commodores cut the lead to one once again. After Spencer’s second triple, Vanderbilt called a timeout and Arkansas led 58-54 with 7:53 left in the game. Carr hit a huge 3-pointer and after an empty possession by Vanderbilt, Spencer came up with a layup, as the Razorbacks led 63-54 with seven minutes remaining in the game. Vanderbilt scored three unanswered points to cut into the lead with Arkansas leading 63-57 with six minutes and some change to go. A Barnum free throw put the Razorbacks up by eight with 4:31 left in the game. Vanderbilt would not go away, continuously cutting the deficit by making 3-pointers. The Commodores would go 7-for-7 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter. With Arkansas up by three, 78-75, with 20 seconds left in the game, the Commodores banked a 3-pointer to tie the game at 81 with 10 seconds left in the game. Daniels charged the ball down the court to knock down a tough shot to send the Razorbacks out with an 84-81 win.
- All five starters earned double digits in scoring for the second time in the last three games
- Spencer led the Razorbacks with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the floor. She added five rebounds and three assists
- Barnum had a solid night with 18 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. She continues to perform on both ends of the floor
- Daniels, the hero of the night, finished with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists
- Poffenbarger logged 13 points and five rebounds
- Carr reached 500+ rebounds in her collegiate career, finishing with four boards on the night. She also put up 11 points, four rebounds and two blocks
- Arkansas went 25-for-35 from the free throw line
Arkansas is up to its biggest tests of the season, starting with a road game at No. 3/5 LSU on Thursday, Jan. 19. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, with coverage of the game being broadcast on SEC Network.
Watch for more photos from Arkansas’s win over Vanderbilt later this week on RNN Sports’ “Team Press Pass” page on Facebook!
Note to Our Readers: Portions of this story were sourced directly from the University of Arkansas Office of Communications, Kylie Magar.