BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON

A 66-65 overtime loss to South Florida on Wednesday meant that the No. 17 Arkansas women’s basketball team returned home from the West Coast with a pair of losses.

But Razorback head coach Mike Neighbors is still happy that he took his team to the San Diego Invitational for an event that also featured a loss to Oregon (85-78).

“I think we are one of the only teams in the country, I think there are two, that have played 15 games,” Neighbors said. “When the NCAA said you could play 15 games, that’s how many you want to have.

“We are not going to schedule short like bunch of teams have. I think our kids signed up to play basketball games as the NCAA allows and now we are doing that.

“I saw about 15 to 20 teams playing non-Division I teams today so that could feel good about themselves going into Christmas. I will call anybody out about that. It is the only reason that you would do that.”

Arkansas has sprinted out to a 13-0 mark that included a 83-75 win at Creighton on Saturday.

“I wish we had won these last two games, but I guarantee no one had us going 15-0 at Christmas in their pool,” Neighbors said.


Erynn Barnum had 21 points to lead Arkansas while Makayla Daniels added 20 and Chrissy Carr 10.

The Razorbacks led 62-59 with 17 seconds left in regulation when Maria Alvarez was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit all three free throws to tie it.


Carr missed a potential game-winning jumper in the final seconds of overtime.

“We learned that it is not the one play at the end of regulation, that it is not the one at the end of overtime, it can the third play of the second half,” Neighbors said. “It can be the fifth play. 

“We are going to have a lot of one possession games. Losses have a tendency to help you learn faster because they hurt more. I think that is just part of sports.”

Arkansas was just 7 of 28 from 3-point range against South Florida after going xx-xx from beyond the arc against Oregon.

“We either have to make more threes or take less,” Neighbors said. “We will really work with our coaches during the break to see which it is.” 

Elena Tsineke led South Florida (11-4) with 23 points while Mendjiadeau Dulcy Fankam added 20 for a team that lost 88-86 in overtime to No. 3 Ohio State on Tuesday night.

Ohio State downed Oregon 84-67 on Wednesday night to win the tournament championship.

Arkansas played both games in the San Diego Invitational without 6-5 sophomore Jersey Wolfenbarger.

“We missed not having Jersey these two games,” Neighbors said. “She was ill and wanted to play today, but it wasn’t the best decision to make.

“I think we have got to develop some depth a little bit further down our bench and get everybody healthy because in the SEC there is always going to games like this.”

Neighbors believes his team also learned another valuable lesson.

“I think we also learned not to blame each other out here and take some individual responsibility. It is not any person’s fault. It is a combination of all our faults.” 

Arkansas (13-2) will not be back in action until a Dec. 29 SEC opening date with visiting LSU.

“It’s a tough way to finish the game, but obviously it is not ever one play, it is not a very specific play, it is accumulation of things that happened throughout the entire 45 minutes,” Neighbors said. “We had a lot of opportunities, we had some really good moments and some really bad moments.

“We learned a lot on this trip that will prepare us for SEC play. we will be better for what we’ve done with the schedule we put together.

“Obviously the two straight losses makes it hard to put in perspective,  but I think we will take 13-2 and where we at going into league play.”