Lady'Backs Find Touch Against Kangaroos

FAYETTEVILLE -- A sizzling hot day of shooting coupled with another breakout effort from true freshman Whitney Jones turned Arkansas' frowns into smiles Sunday as the Lady'Backs cruised past Missouri-Kansas City, 84-57, in front of a season-high crowd of 1,890 in Bud Walton Arena.

Three days after its stunning loss against Tulsa in which the Hurricane overcame an 11-point deficit in the final four minutes, Arkansas (4-3) responded in a big way, knocking down 9 of 17 shots from three-point range while hitting 52.2 percent from the floor overall.

"We've not been known to be a great shooting team, but we do have people who can put it in," said Lady'Backs coach Susie Gardner. "And now we have a low post presence with Whitney (Jones).

"So if we're knocking it down from outside, that opens things up for her."

Jones posted her first career double-double Sunday, finishing with 21 points and a career-best 10 rebounds while having her way with the Kangaroos' defenders inside the paint as she connected on 10 of 15 shots from the field.

"(Coach Gardner) just told me to go out there and play like I did in the first game (at SMU)," said Jones. "She just wanted me to come out and play defense and hit the glass hard."

Arkansas also got big days off the bench from both Kristin Peoples and Dominique Washington, who combined to score 33 points while hitting 12 of 24 shots from the floor.

"It's a lot easier when we have balance in the offense," Peoples said. "Because the other teams don't know who to defend."

The Lady'Backs looked as if they were ready to run away with this one from the start. But after building a 22-8 lead with 8:17 left in the first half, Missouri-Kansas City was able to cut its deficit down to eight points before Arkansas pushed the lead back up to 39-28 at the intermission.

Within five minutes into the second half, though, the Lady'Backs would blow things wide open for good, building their first 20-point lead behind several easy buckets from Jones.

"I was a little concerned, for obvious reasons," Gardner said. "We have to be able to put teams away and I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to do that.

"So I was pleased."

The Kangaroos (2-5) got effective play from their two posts, 6-foot-1 Stephanie Brown and 6-3 Alysa Klein -- combining for 32 points and 8 boards. But with senior starting point guard Jowan Ortega out for most of the second half with a sprained ankle, Missouri-Kansas City's chances were all but lost.

"I was kind of surprised at how well some of their young kids played," said Kangaroos coach Bo Overton. "We had three seniors out there that had seen a lot of playing time, but Arkansas, they just played a good game."

The Lady'Backs are back in action Tuesday with a trip to Western Kentucky while Missouri-Kansas City hits the road Wednesday at Kansas.

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