FAYETTEVILLE-- Samara Spencer scored a career-high 32 points on her 20th birthday, and the University of Arkansas women pulled away from Oral Roberts in the second half to win 92-58 on Sunday afternoon in Walton Arena.
Spencer became the first Arkansas player to score 30-plus points since her teammate Makayla Daniels put up 34 against Creighton on Dec. 21. The sophomore guard from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. hit 6-of-8 three-pointers in 31 minutes.
"In high school, I played on my birthday, and we lost to our rival," Spencer said. "So, this was kind of a make-up game I feel like."
She scored 17 of her points during a dominant second half for the Razorbacks.
"Just a little bit of a different approach," Arkansas Coach Mike Neighbors said of Spencer. "She knew she was going to have it in her hands a lot and had to be relentless in that. You don't sit there and go, 'Sam's going to get us 32 tonight.' I thought on her birthday that was a really fun thing for her to get to celebrate."
Arkansas led 41-37 at intermission but outscored the Golden Eagles 51-21 in the final 20 minutes. The win gave Arkansas (10-0) its best start since the 2013-14 season.
"I was really pleased with how every single person found a way to impact the game," Neighbors said. "I thought after the second quarter we really settled in defensively -- in that third quarter, boy it was about as good as we've been."
For a second straight game, Arkansas came out shooting hot. The Razorbacks scored 15 points in the opening five minutes to jump ahead. Spencer highlighted the scoring spree by knocking down two consecutive three-pointers.
Tirzah Moore did what she could to let Oral Roberts (2-7) hang around early. She scored eight points in the first quarter, keeping the Golden Eagles within striking distance. Arkansas owned a 22-16 lead entering the second quarter, with Spencer scoring 13 points in the first.
Oral Roberts missed its first 11 three-pointers of the game, but that drought came to an end when Ariel Walker (Ozark), hit a corner three with four seconds left in the second quarter to trim the deficit to the halftime score.
Spencer nearly manufactured some birthday magic at the first-half buzzer, finding the bottom of the net off a three-quarters of the court heave. After officials reviewed the shot, it left her fingertips fractions of a second too late.
"There was some talk at halftime about the shots they were getting," Neighbors said. "They were all layups. They were just driving us and getting to the basket, and they were forcing us to settle for threes."
The third quarter was all Arkansas. The Razorbacks hit their first four shots, including Spencer's fourth three, to pull ahead 50-41. She continued to dazzle in the frame, going a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor, including 3 three-pointers, reaching 31 points by quarter's end.
Arkansas shot a sizzling 76.5% in the quarter, outscoring the Golden Eagles 32-10 to put the game well away with a 73-47 lead.
"When we went into half we kind of prided ourselves on coming back out and just being ourselves," Spencer said. "We have kind of gotten out of our roles toward the end of the second quarter. We got back to playing our game."
Arkansas finished the job in the fourth quarter with a 19-11 advantage. The Razorbacks held Oral Roberts to 2-of-26 (7.7%) three-point shooting.
"They shoot the ball better normally than they did tonight," Neighbors said. "But I thought our length really bothered them some. Most nights they are not going to go 2 for 26. Again, credit to our defense, credit to our effort. We rebounded the ball well after we didn't the other night, so it was good to see that improvement."
Four different Razorbacks scored in double figures, including redshirt-freshman Saylor Poffenbarger, who posted her first career double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
"I feel like I'm kind of going into my role, and it's becoming really fun," Poffenbarger said. "I think this team is really special."
Poffenbarger added five assists with zero turnovers.
"She makes the right pass at the right time," Neighbors said. "Just so versatile. She played four offensive positions and guarded five defensive positions today. For her to continue to be that person for us, it's invaluable."
Jersey Wolfenbarger was near a double-double with 9 points and 12 rebounds. Chrissy Carr and Maryam Dauda scored 15 and 10 points, respectively.
Daniels, who has started all 97 games she's played in as a Razorback, was inactive for the contest with a left foot injury. Neighbors listed her as day-to-day and said her not playing was a "preventative" measure.
PCT. — FG 29.6, FT 66.7. 3-PT. — 2-26, 7.7% (Rodrigues 1-3, Walker 1-5) BL — 3 (Moore 2). TO — 13 (Cooper 4). ST — 6 (Cooper 4).
PCT. — FG 44.6, FT 64.0. 3-PT. — 10-30, 33.3 (Spencer 6-8, Carr 3-12, Poffenbarger 1-3). BL — 9 (Wolfenbarger 4). TO — 8 (Spencer, Wolfenbarger, Carr 2). ST — 5 (Spencer 3).
Officials — Lukanich, Esho, Baker
Attendance — 2,947.