STARKVILLE, Miss. (U of A) – Quistelle Williams scored 16 points and had 14 rebounds but it was not enough as the University of Arkansas women's basketball team fell at Mississippi State, 47-44, in Southeastern Conference action in Starkville, Miss., Sunday.
Arkansas (15-7, 3-6 SEC) rallied back from a 10-point halftime deficit to tie the game at 33 at the 10:30 mark when Dominique Wilson hit a five-foot floater making it 33-all. Arkansas started the second half 6-for-6 and put together a 15-7 run to climb back into the game. State (10-12, 2-7 SEC) lead by as many as 13 in the first half but the Razorback defense answered the call and forced some miscues by the Bulldogs as Arkansas' shots began to fall.
Williams had a slow start to the game but rallied in the second half leading all scorers with 16 points. It was her sixth double-double of her career.
As the game see-sawed back and forth in the late minutes of the game, neither team was able to step up and take control of the contest.
Tied a 42 with 3:27 to go in the game, State pulled ahead after an Arkansas foul sent them to the line. Katia May hit both bonus shots letting MSU pull ahead, 44-42. The Bulldogs hit a jumper in the paint stretching the lead to four with just over two minutes to play.
Arkansas answered with a long jumper from Williams closing within two points. The Razorbacks got a turnover from Mississippi State and charged down the floor for a last-second opportunity.
The Razorbacks got the look they wanted but the shot didn't fall as time ran out.
"It's a tough loss on the road," Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. "We were not able to take advantage of our opportunities and we let this one slip away."
Senior Sarah Watkins battled foul trouble and finished with 15 points in 21 minutes while Wilson added eight points and seven rebounds for Arkansas.
One of the Razorbacks' goals in the game was to force Mississippi State to turn the ball over and they had some success early. Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, they also struggled with turnovers and that, combined with cold shooting saw Arkansas post their lowest point total, 14, in the first half this season.
Arkansas put together a 5-2 run over the final six minutes of the half but trailed State by 10, 14-24, at the break. Watkins, Keira Peak and Jhasmin Bowen all had two fouls as Arkansas shot just 21 percent on 5-for-24 from the floor. Williams led Arkansas with eight points and five rebounds at the half.
State shot 35 percent behind Martha Alwal who had eight points and eight boards in the first frame.
For the game, Arkansas shot 32.1 percent on 17-for-53 from the floor. The Razorbacks out-rebounded State, 43-35, but 20 Arkansas turnovers contributed to today's loss.
The Razorbacks return to Fayetteville hosting No. 8/7 Kentucky Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena as SEC action continues.