ARKANSAS 67, MEMPHIS 57
Calli Berna had a big game for Arkansas at the point on Thursday against Memphis.
IN A NUTSHELL
Arkansas raced out to a 39-21 lead at intermission and then had to hold a Memphis rally to take a 67-57 win in the first round of the WNIT at Bud Walton Arena on Thursday night.
Memphis fought back in the second half to pull within 57-51 with 4:32 left in the game. That's when Quistelle Williams stepped outside and hit a long three to give Arkansas a 60-51 advantage with 4:06 left. Arkansas then scored the next four points to take a 64-51 lead with 2:06 remaining.
Arkansas was led in scoring by true freshman Dominique Wilson who had 15 points followed by Calli Berna with 14 and Williams with 12. Williams also had 11 rebounds for a double-double. Berna added six assists and four rebounds to go with her points while Wilson also had six boards.
Memphis jumped out to a 5-1 lead, but then Arkansas took a 6-5 lead. The last Memphis lead of the game came at 9-8 with 12:45 remaining in the first half.
Arkansas won the battle of the boards 44-36.
STATS THAT MATTER
1,145 Thursday night's attendance.
55.6 Arkansas 3-point percentage in the first half, making five of nine.
20 Arkansas' largest lead of the game coming with 1:07 left in the first half.
16 The number of made free throws by Arkansas compared to nine for Memphis.
14 The number of turnovers for each team.
***After losing junior Dominique Robinson and senior Kelsey Hatcher to injuries during the season, Arkansas Coach Tom Collen decided to go with an eight-person rotation.
***Arkansas' talented backcourt includes Wilson, the true freshman, and Berna, who is a sophomore.
***Arkansas plays three seniors. Williams, Sarah Watkins and Erin Gatling. Gatling came off the bench to score seven points, grab three boards and two steals. Watkins had eight points and six rebounds.
Collen on Thursday's win: “It always feels good to get a win. It looked like it was slipping away from us there for awhile. We didn't start out the game great, but I thought from the 15-minute mark to the close of the half I thought we did some good things.”
Collen on allowing Memphis to get back into the game in second half: “All we talked about in the locker room at the half was coming out with intensity and not letting up. We have been in this situation before. Unfortunately we took what was looking like a pretty good game and made it hard. To the kid's credit they hung on at the end. They made free throws and there has been times in the past where they have let the lead slip away in the past.”
Collen on Williams' big three-point shot late in game: “She stepped up and stuck the big shot after missing several ill-advised shots. You've got to give kid's like that credit. The great ones they're probably not going to stop shooting because they feel like the ball is going to go in the basket. It broke the momentum [Memphis] had.”
Memphis Coach Melissa McFerrin on Arkansas' play: “I want to congratulate Arkansas. I thought they were outstanding in the first half. They did a very nice job of being the most physical team and giving themselves a chance to win the basketball game from the opening tip.”
McFerrin on Williams' shot: “That was huge. We were making a comeback in the second half. That shot was huge. We were gaining momentum. We left Williams wide open at the three-point line.”
Arkansas will host Tulane on Sunday at 2 in Bud Walton Arena. Tulane defeated Sam Houston State 65-57 on Thursday night. Sunday's game will be the second round of the WNIT.