FAYETTEVILLE -- With only four games remaining in the regular season, Arkansas wants to close with some momentum heading into the SEC Tournament.
The Razorbacks will have an opportunity to do just that tonight at Kentucky, a team they have a lot in common with this season.
Arkansas women at Kentucky
WHEN 6 p.m.
WHERE Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, Ky.
RECORDS Arkansas 12-13, 3-9; Kentucky 12-14, 4-8
SERIES Kentucky leads 22-13
RADIO KABZ-FM 103.7 in Little Rock; KQSM-FM 92.1 in Fayetteville; KFPW-AM 1230 and KFPW-FM 94.5 in Fort Smith; KURM-AM 790 and KURM-FM 100.3 in Rogers.
TELEVISION SEC Network Plus
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS
COACH Mike Neighbors (12-13 first season at Arkansas; 110-52 overall)
COACH Matthew Mitchell (253-114 12th year at Kentucky; 283-143 overall)
67.9^Points Scored Ave.^67.9
72.2^Points Allowed Ave.^64.0
37.2^Field Goal Pct.^41.9
41.2^Field Goal Defense^40.4
29.7^3-Point Shooting Pct.^36.3
38.8^Rebounds Per Game^36.0
43.4^Rebounds Allowed Per Game^34.3
CHALK TALK Arkansas has lost two straight since a road win at Alabama, but one of those losses was a five-point setback to No. 11 Tennesse (90-85). … The Razorbacks were never in Monday’s 84-58 loss to No. 13 Missouri after trailing 33-14 at the end of the first quarter. … About the only bright spot in the loss to Missouri was that Neighbors was able to shave a lot of minutes of his starters. That should make for a somewhat rested team tonight. … Kentucky has also lost two straight games. … Maci Morris is the Wildcats’ leading scorer at 16.1 points per game. … Kentucky has won the last five meetings, including a 76-65 win on Jan. 29 when the Wildcats took a 17-point halftime lead. … Arkansas returns home Sunday to host LSU, then closes the regular season with a home game against Texas A&M and a road game at Vanderbilt.
— Chip Souza • @NWAChip
Both teams have similar records, and both teams have followed a somewhat similar path in terms of schedule. The one glaring difference is that Kentucky (12-14, 4-8) has already beaten Arkansas (12-13, 3-9) at Bud Walton Arena this season. Arkansas is hoping for a similar road win tonight.
Arkansas comes into the game with its starters actually somewhat rested after Sunday's 84-58 home loss to No. 13 Missouri. After falling behind big, first-year coach Mike Neighbors was able to reduce the number of minutes his starters played in that game.
"They wanted to play," Neighbors said of his starters. "I've gotta be the coach of the team looking at the big picture that we have a winnable game at Kentucky on Thursday, mind you with a day less rest than we had planned all year long."
Arkansas lost a day off when the Missouri game had to be moved to Monday when the Tigers could not make the trip to Fayetteville because of icy road conditions on Sunday.
Both teams enter today's 6 p.m. tipoff after back-to-back losses. Arkansas took No. 11 Tennessee to the brink in a 90-85 loss last week. The Wildcats have lost to Mississippi State and Missouri in their last two games.
The Monday loss to Missouri -- on paper -- would appear to be a step back for the Razorbacks, but Neighbors said the score was a bit deceiving.
"We were so much better," he said comparing Monday's score to the first meeting against Missouri, an 88-54 loss. "The score is not what I look at, but if you look at those two games, we played so much better this time, so I know we're making progress and I'm happy."
Arkansas fell into a big hole against Missouri, allowing 33 points in the first quarter. The Razorbacks were never seriously in the game after that, which allowed Neighbors to substitute more freely. Starter Kiara Williams only played four minutes, but Neighbors said that was because of early foul problems and not the lopsided score.
"We were frustrated that Kiara continues to get in foul trouble," Neighbors said. "I would have liked for her to have come back and played more in the first half or the start of the third quarter certainly."
The Razorbacks will close out the regular season with two of its final three games at home against LSU on Sunday, then hosting Texas A&M next Thursday. The Razorbacks end the regular season on the road at Vanderbilt on Feb. 25 before heading to the SEC Tournament in Nashville.
Sports on 02/15/2018
Print Headline: Razorbacks looking to close strong