Jan. 24, 2010
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The women's basketball team overcame an 11-point, second-half deficit to force overtime but came up just short of winning its second consecutive Southeastern Conference game, falling to the Arkansas Razorbacks 66-62 in overtime on Sunday in Coleman Coliseum.
Junior forward Tierney Jenkins notched her eighth double-double of the season with 18 points and 14 rebounds for a Crimson Tide team that drops to 9-11 (1-6 SEC) on the season. Arkansas improves to 9-11 (1-6 SEC).
"We lost the game in the first 20 minutes and that's what I told the team," head coach Wendell Hudson said. "We went in at halftime and had six assists, they had 11 offensive rebounds. We didn't play together. We were coming down with one pass and one shot, shooting the ball off-balance. When you've had some success, you have to understand what got you success and that is playing together, playing as a team, doing the things you need to do. In the first 20 minutes we didn't play that way."
Arkansas started the overtime period on an 8-0 run, a margin that proved to be too big for Alabama to overcome. A jumper by senior Charity Ford coupled with a steal and layup just five seconds later by Ford gave the Razorbacks a quick four-point advantage. Arkansas added to the lead to make it 63-55 at the 2:44 mark of the extra period.
Alabama, though, did not give in, outscoring the Razorbacks 7-1 over the next 2:08 to pull within a basket with 36 seconds remaining. However, two free throws by freshman Dominique Robinson, who was a perfect eight-of-eight from the foul line, gave Arkansas a four-point lead with ten seconds to seal the deal for the Razorbacks.
"You have to give Arkansas credit," Hudson said. "They came in here and played awful hard. The longer you let a team think they can play with you, they will play with you. They did a good job and we didn't play as well as we needed to play."
The Tide forced a season-high 30 Arkansas turnovers, but turned those into only 15 points. Alabama was also done in by poor shooting, launching a season-high 72 shots but connecting on only 23 (31.9 percent).
"Every loose ball we were looking at it, they came up with," Hudson said. "All the things that you look at, you say `This is not heading in the right direction.' It wasn't heading in the right direction for us in the first half."
Alabama forced five Arkansas turnovers over the first 2:47 of the second half to expound upon its 23-22 halftime lead by six, however a quick 16-0 Razorback run, spanning less than three minutes, gave Arkansas its first lead of the game as well as a sizeable nine-point advantage at 38-29. The Razorbacks pushed the advantage to as much as 11 at the 13:00 mark before the Tide started its comeback.
Senior guard Dedrea Magee ended the run with a three pointer to pull Alabama within eight. From there the Tide whittled the lead down to two over the course of the next 5:39 before freshman Ericka Russell gave Alabama the lead, 50-49 at the 2:11 juncture with back-to-back baskets. The sophomore from Tuscaloosa had started the game 0-of-12 from the field.
A pair of free throws from Robinson briefly regained the lead for Arkansas before Jenkins put the Tide back on top, 52-51, with 49 seconds remaining. A jump shot by Charity Ford gave the Razorbacks the lead right back with 35 seconds.
After Jenkins missed a shot that would have given Alabama the lead at the 17-second mark, Robinson made another pair of free throws to push the Arkansas advantage to 55-52.
Following a timeout, Russell knocked down a deep three from the right wing to tie it at 55 with 10 seconds left in regulation. Arkansas did not get a shot off on the ensuing possession, turning the ball over to the Tide with 2.8 seconds left. Russell's heave from well beyond half court came up short sending the game into overtime.
"Our shooters though, like Ericka (Russell) kept shooting, and she made that big three at the end," Jenkins said. "The biggest thing was we weren't making our shots at the beginning but we started making them at the end. It was just a battle after that."
Alabama's stifling defense held the Razorbacks to just one point over the game's first 7:05, as the Tide mounted an 8-1 lead. Arkansas missed its first eight shots from the field, mustering only a free throw in the early going.
Alabama's lead remained constant over the next 3:14 as both teams struggled mightily to find the basket. The Tide and the Razorbacks made a combined 13-of-46 shots over the game's first 15 minutes, including 0-of-11 from beyond the arc. Alabama shot just 36 percent from the floor while Arkansas connected on only 21.7 percent.
A three pointer by Ford, who led the Razorbacks with eight first-half points, capped a 7-2 Arkansas run to pull the Razorbacks within a point, 23-22, at the half.
Next up the Tide travels to Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday to take on No. 20/21 Vanderbilt. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (CST).