O'Neill's Big Day Leads Hoops Past Arkansas
January 26, 2014
LEXINGTON (AP) - Jennifer O'Neill scored 21 points to lead No. 9 Kentucky to a 68-58 victory over Arkansas on Sunday.
The Wildcats (16-4, 4-3 Southeastern Conference), coming off a stunning 57-55 loss to Alabama on Thursday, rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half to hand Arkansas its fourth loss in five games.
O'Neill scored 16 points in the first half to set the tone for the Wildcats. She finished 8 of 12 from the field and made five of Kentucky's nine 3-pointers. Janee Thompson had 13 points for Kentucky and Bria Goss added 10 including a clutch 3-pointer with 2:14 remaining.
Jessica Jackson led the Razorbacks (15-5, 2-5) with 23 points.
Jackson's three-point play and 3-pointer during a 12-3 run to open the second half gave the Razorbacks a 44-34 lead with 17:11 remaining.
Kentucky used an 11-2 run to pull within 46-45. Goss scored five points during the spurt.
Arkansas kept the lead until a driving layup by Thompson and a basket by Samarie Walker gave the Wildcats a 53-50 lead with 8:36 remaining.
Thompson scored seven points in a 9-0 run by Kentucky that made it 56-50 lead. Arkansas closed the gap to 56-54 but a 3 by O'Neill pushed the margin to 59-54 with 5:30 left.
Following the two-point loss to the Crimson Tide, coach Matthew Mitchell tweaked his starting lineup, inserting Jelleah Sydney and O'Neill in place of Thompson and DeNesha Stallworth. O'Neill scored five of Kentucky's first 12 points as the Wildcats raced to a 12-4 lead in the first 5 minutes.
A 3-pointer by O'Neill ended an 8-0 run by the Razorbacks and gave the Wildcats a 15-12 lead with 10:18 remaining in the first half.
A 3-pointer by Jackson with 27 seconds left in the first half gave the Razorbacks a 32-31 lead. Jackson connected on three 3s in the first half.
Mitchell also made a change defensively, reverting to a 2-3 zone instead of his staple man-to-man scheme. But he used the man-to-man to disrupt Arkansas in the second half.
Jhasmin Bowen added 13 points and Keira Peak had 10 for the Razorbacks.