JONESBORO, Ark. — Arkansas took care of business, defeating Arkansas State (1-2), 82-67, in its first road contest of the season.
Despite a slow start, the Hogs took a 10-0 run late in the second quarter to pull ahead for good. Freshman Taliah Scott paced the Hogs for the fourth straight game, notching 34 points, just three off from tying the freshman scoring record (37 points by Bettye Fiscus in 1981). The Razorbvacks finished the game 48 percent from the field with 10 3-pointers, while shooting a perfect 100 percent from the free throw line (12-for-12) for the fourth time in school history.
It took both teams some time to settle in, as the game was knotted up at 2-2 three minutes into action. The Red Wolves then went on a 5-0 run, while the Hogs were in a drought for 3.5 minutes. Scott broke the drought with a 3-point play by getting the basket, drawing the foul and knocking down the freebie.
Arkansas started out the game 0-for-11 from beyond the arc, and trailed A-State, 9-5 at the media timeout taken with 3:49 left in the first quarter. Scott broke another Arkansas scoring drought, which was two minutes, with another 3-point play, and then the freshman broke the Hogs’ drought from beyond the arc by nailing a triple.
The Hogs tied the game off a Scott jumper, but A-State responded. With the final shot, Carly Keats drained a 3-pointer, and the Hogs took their first lead of the night, 16-15, after one quarter.
The second quarter was a one-score game for the first three minutes, with the lead going back and forth. Samara Spencer then came up with a 3-point play, as the Hogs took a two-point lead, 25-23 with 6:24 remaining in the quarter. The Red Wolves knocked down a triple, but Maryam Dauda responded with one of her own.
Just before the media timeout, at 4:49, A-State scored a layup to tie the game at 28. Arkansas went on 7-0 run, highlighted by an Emrie Ellis 3-pointer. The Red Wolves then took a timeout, as the Hogs led, 35-28 with 2:40 left. Out of the timeout, Ellis knocked down another triple to extend the Hogs’ run to a 10-0 one.
After A-State’s three-minute scoring drought, the Red Wolves outscored the Hogs 5-4 in the remaining two minutes of the frame, but Arkansas took the 42-33 advantage going into halftime.
Makayla Daniels knocked down back-to-back triples on the Hogs’ first two possessions in the second half, extending Arkansas’ lead to 48-33. The Red Wolves took a timeout, with 8:54 left in the third. The Red Wolves came up with a score out of their regroup, but Dauda nailed a triple in response.
The Red Wolves then went on a 5-0 run, while the Hogs were in a scoring drought for over two minutes until Scott knocked down two freebies. Arkansas was held without a field goal for over three minutes until Poffenbarger logged a triple. With 3:53 left in the quarter, the Hogs were ahead, 56-42.
The Hogs had three turnovers in two minutes, but Scott sparked a 7-0 run with a 3-point play, her third of the game. Arkansas outscored A-State 25-13 in the third to take a 67-46 advantage into the final quarter.
The Red Wolves opened the fourth scoring eight straight points, including a banked 3-pointer. The Hogs broke that drought, as Sasha Goforth came up with a layup off a miss. A-State cut Arkansas’ lead to 10 off a jumper. Arkansas called a timeout, up 69-59 with 5:58 remaining in the game.
Dauda hit her third 3-pointer of the night out of the timeout, but A-State answered with one of their own. Arkansas had four turnovers in less than two minutes, which would allow A-State to come within 10 points again with 5:22 to play. The Hogs did not waver, as Scott made a driving layup and Spencer followed with one of her own to put the Hogs back up by 14. Arkansas finished strong to win, 82-67, and start out the season 4-0.
QUOTES FROM NABES
On team’s ability to withstand A-State’s fast start:
“I’m proud of them because it’s not easy to go on the road, period. You look around at what is going on around the country,” said coach Mike Neighbors. “I knew [A-State] had a long break between their last two games. We were probably expecting a couple of unexpected things, which we got. I knew the crowd would be honest from the last time we were here. It was a phenomenal atmosphere. There was no panic when things were going, not bad, but just not our way. [A-State] has a real solid group and I’m anxious to follow them through their year and see how they do in their league. We have now played two teams in their league, so it will be fun to follow them.”
On what he’s most proud of with the team tonight:
“It’s just that they embrace this whole thing,” said Neighbors. “Most of these kids didn’t grow up in Arkansas, so they don’t get the whole ‘Why are we playing all these in-state schools? What’s the big deal about it?’ The fact they have embraced it, and they have said it’s important to us to play these games. It’s good for our state. It’s good for every high school team. It’s good for every grassroots program and every boys and girls club. I’m glad that our non-Arkansas kids embrace that and accept it. They know it’s going to be hard… [A-State] has a good team, and I’m proud they don’t overlook anybody. Our kids probably have taught me a lot in that area. The job Makayla [Daniels] and Samara [Spencer] are doing with Taliah [Scott] is so behind-the-scenes stuff. Y’all will get a chance to see it maybe unravel as the year goes, but I’ve said to both of them that I’ve put the ball in Taliah’s hands a lot now, and I want them to be able to coach her through it. Then we moved Taliah off the ball. I’m really proud of Mak and Sam, and how they have taken that responsibility [with mentoring Taliah]. Our group really talked to each other. I was really proud of the talk they had going into the locker room. I went down the tunnel to go talk, and I stopped short and waited a second to let them keep talking because I could hear it. Their tone was good. Their energy was good. There were multiple voices talking and it wasn’t Mak talking at them. It was people talking back and forth. I have not had a team at Arkansas before that could talk to each other the way they do and the manner they do. I hope that means we are figuring some things out, I don’t know that for a fact, but I’m proud of where we are at after four games.
• Scott continues to impress, logging a new career-high 34 points off 12-of-21 shooting from the field, 9-of-9 from the charity stripe. She added five boards, two assists and one steal. Seventeen of her 34 points came in the first half. Scott also played all 40 minutes.
• Dauda is finding her stride, finishing the night just shy of a double-double with 11 points, off 3-of-6 from 3-point, which is a career-high, along with nine rebounds and two blocks
• Poffenbarger had 10 of her 14 rebounds in the first half. The redshirt sophomore finished shy of a double-double with nine points, while also adding four assists
• Ellis provided a big spark off the bench, knocking down two 3-pointers, her first multi-3-pointer game in her Arkansas career
Spencer was solid with nine points, three boards, three assists and two steals
• Daniels finished with eight points, four rebounds and one steal. She surpassed 1,500 points in her career
• Arkansas outscored A-State in fast breaks, 10-2
• The Hogs went 1.000 from the line, 12-for-12, for the first time since 2019 (vs. Missouri on Feb. 28, 2019), and fourth time in school history
• Arkansas has started the season 4-0 for the third time in the last five years
• The Hogs have elevated its record against in-state schools to 14-0 since the schools started to play one another again in the regular season in 2019
Arkansas hosts Central Arkansas on Monday, Nov. 20 for a 7 p.m. tipoff. The game serves as the team’s Native American Heritage Month Appreciation game.
Information from Arkansas Communications is included in this story.