Arkansas women's basketball uses 3-point prowess to down No. 11 LSU

·3 min read

FAYETTEVILLE — LSU women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey said this week that Arkansas' 3-point shooting gives her "sleepless nights." It will again Thursday after the Razorbacks shot 52% from 3-point range and downed No. 11 LSU 90-76 at Bud Walton Arena.

Arkansas (14-6, 4-3 SEC) beat its first ranked opponent this season, having lost to No. 2 UConn, No. 9 Tennessee and No. 1 South Carolina . LSU (17-4, 5-3) lost its second straight game after being upset by Florida on Sunday.

"They learn from tough losses to South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Tennessee," Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors said of his team. "This group has really gotten to where when it gets going, it goes up another level."

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Three-point dominance

Arkansas' 13-for-25 3-point shooting was its best percentage in conference play. Amber Ramirez led the Razorbacks with 25, one point shy of tying her season-high. She was 5-for-8 from beyond the arc, including 4-for-5 in the third quarter.

Freshman Samara Spencer was 3-for-5, and Makayla Daniels went 3-for-6.

LSU, on the other hand, went 3-for-13 from 3-point range, all of its makes in the fourth quarter.

Arkansas' offense has been its feature, especially in its now three-game win streak. It scored its highest mark of the season last week with 99, then had a 32-point third quarter against Mississippi State on Sunday.

"When somebody hits, we're all excited for each other," Ramirez said. "Everybody's holding up threes down the court. Somebody gets an and-one, we're yelling, pounding our chests. I think playing as one, playing together as much as possible helps us out a lot."

Staunch defense

LSU leads the SEC in points per game with 76.4 and is second in the conference in field goal percentage with 46.7%. Against Arkansas, the Tigers shot 44%.

"I think our defense has stepped up the last couple of games," Ramirez said. "Coach Neighbors does a good job of pointing out what they do well and what we need to stop. We try to stop their first and second 'thing' to make them do something that they're uncomfortable with. I think that really helps us out a lot."

LSU's Khayla Pointer, the SEC's third-leading scorer with 19 points per game, had just eight in the first half and finished shooting 4-for-12 with 13 points. She became the first LSU player to eclipse 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists.

Arkansas' defense held LSU to 28 points in the first half, tying the Tigers' lowest first-half total this season. LSU's 13-point frame in the second quarter allowed Arkansas to get up by as many as 14 after a 15-2 run. The Razorbacks never gave up the lead, and in fact posted their highest mark in the third quarter with 26.

Spencer stays hot

Spencer had a career-high 17 points against Alabama on Jan. 20 before besting it with 19 against Mississippi State three days later. She kept climbing against LSU, setting a new personal best with 20.

Her total was tied with Daniels second-most among Razorbacks against LSU. The reigning SEC freshman of the week had gone through a slump when conference play started, but has since found her early season form.

"She's probably the most confident freshman I've ever met," Daniels said. "I'm an upperclassman and I'm learning from her from her as a freshman."

Neighbors echoed that sentiment, saying he knew when she first visited campus that she had confidence.

"You can see it with the fact that she's backed it up against really, really good players," Neighbors said. "She's fearless."

Christina Long covers the Arkansas Razorbacks. You can email her at clong@swtimes.com or follow her on Twitter @christinalong00.

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This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Arkansas women's basketball beats No. 11 LSU 90-76 for third straight win

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