Arkansas women’s basketball struggles for goals, falls to Kentucky

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas women’s basketball had the crowd it wanted, but it wasn’t a factor in the end as the Razorbacks fell 78-55 to Kentucky on Sunday at Bud Walton Arena.

Arkansas announced that 8,292 fans were in attendance to honor senior Amber Ramirez, the eighth largest crowd in the program’s history.

Ramirez finished top of the team with 18 points, but otherwise Arkansas (16-10, 6-7 SEC) failed on offense as Kentucky (13-11, 6-8) earned their fourth straight win.

“One hopes to capitalize on the crowds better, but we’re not used to seeing that crowd,” said Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors. “We did nothing to take advantage of it.”

Arkansas shot 35% from the field and scored droughts of at least two minutes in each quarter. The Razorbacks did not score more than 15 points in any quarter.

Arkansas had 12 turnovers and Kentucky 11. But Kentucky outscored Arkansas from the freebies, 22-11.

Most devastating, however, was Arkansas’ unusually poor 3-point shooting. Ramirez made out all four for the Razorbacks, who shot 24%. It continued the trend from Thursday’s loss to Florida when Arkansas went 1-for-13.

Kentucky shot 45% from 3-point range.

“I said to Amber, ‘Today was more of a celebration of your entire career, not just one day, so don’t let that be the memory of it,'” the neighbors said. “If we could have gotten off to a slightly better start we might have got through it, but they just hit us in the mouth.”

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Makayla Daniels returns

Arkansas guard Makayla Daniels was back on the starting lineup after missing four games with a knee injury. At the time of her injury, she was leading Arkansas in points and rebounds per game.

Arkansas was 2-2 in games she missed, and neighbors previously said her absence was a “big” factor in the team’s losses.

“That changes every single person’s matchup, changes every single person’s role and what they’ve had in the last four games,” Neighbors said. “But we’d rather have them than not have them.”

In Daniels’ first appearance of the month, she finished with seven points, two rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes on the floor.

“I think I could have played better,” Daniels said. “But it’s hard to come back, miss four games and be in the kind of game shape I want to be in.”

Howard leads Kentucky

Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard will do anything for the Wildcats. She leads the team in rebounds per game (7.7), 3-pointers made (44), free throw attempts (117), steals (61), and blocks (30). She is also the SEC’s top scorer at 19.6 points per game.

Howard finished Sunday with 29 points in 9-for-16 shooting and 10 rebounds. She had 11 points at the end of the first quarter and was one point off her season high. Dre’una Edwards also had a double-double for the Wildcats with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

“She’s an all-around player,” Daniels said of Howard. “She can walk past you, she can shoot behind the screen, and for me she’s never overwhelmed.”

next up

Arkansas is playing two of its last three games away, starting with a trip to Ole Miss on Tuesday (6 p.m. CT, SECN+).

Christina Long covers the Arkansas Razorbacks. You can email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @christinalong00.

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