Sparked by a disruptive defensive effort, Arkansas outscored South Dakota 22-11 in the third quarter and used that advantage to knock off the defending WNIT Champions, 70-67, on Thursday night in Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas runs its record to 3-0 for the second time in three seasons under head coach Jimmy Dykes and also snapped South Dakota’s eight-game winning streak, the second longest streak in the nation.
Five Razorbacks scored in double figures, led by Jessica Jackson with 14 points. Alecia Cooley and Malica Monk added 12 points each, while Briunna Freeman and Jailyn Mason had 10 points each. The Razorbacks, while allowing South Dakota (2-1) to shoot 56.8 percent from the field, scored 24 points off 21 South Dakota turnovers.
Arkansas concludes its four-game home stand against Stetson on Monday.
Trailing 31-27, Arkansas went on an 11-2 run midway through the third quarter, taking a 38-31 lead at the under-five media timeout. The Razorbacks carried that momentum though the rest of the quarter to take a 49-39 lead into the fourth frame. Malica Monk came up with three of her career-high four steals during the 4:56 spurt.
South Dakota had pulled to within five, 59-54, in the fourth quarter when Alecia Cooley blocked a shot on the defensive end, which led to a corner 3-pointer for Bailey Zimmerman to push the lead to 62-54 with 3:09 left in the game.
Key Stat – 21
Arkansas forced 21 turnovers, coming up with a season-high 12 steals and scoring 24 points off those miscues. The 21 turnovers also tied a season high for South Dakota. Arkansas forced seven turnovers and came up with seven steals during the third quarter, during which they outscored South Dakota 22-11.
• Arkansas faced South Dakota for the first time in school history.
• South Dakota is the first of four Arkansas nonconference opponents, and 14 opponents overall, that played in the postseason in 2015-16.
• Arkansas has used the same starting five for each of the first three games: Malica Monk, Jailyn Mason, Jessica Jackson, Bailey Zimmerman and Alecia Cooley.
• Nine different players saw action and eight different players scored in the contest for the Razorbacks.
• Jessica Jackson and Alecia Cooley have scored in double figures in each of the first three games this season.
• Jailyn Mason scored in double figures for the first time in her career, finishing with 10 points.
• Jessica Jackson pulled down a team-high seven rebounds, while Malica Monk came up with a team-high four steals and dished out a team-high four assists.
• Arkansas forced two shot-clock violations with both coming in the first quarter. The Razorbacks had forced only one shot-clock violation through the first two games.
• Arkansas outrebounded South Dakota 33-21. Arkansas also grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, compared to 18 defensive rebounds for South Dakota.
• Arkansas improves to 3-0 for the second time in three season under head coach and for the first time since the 2014-15 season, when the Razorbacks advanced to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.
• Arkansas improves to 22-10 in home games, including 14-5 in nonconference home games, under head coach Jimmy Dykes.
• Arkansas snapped South Dakota’s eight-game winning streak, the second-longest in the nation.
• Arkansas has led for 109:42 of 120:00 minutes played this season. Arkansas has been tied for just 3:17 and has trailed for just 7:01 this season.
Quotable – From Jimmy Dykes
“We continued to keep our defensive pressure full court and tried to wear them down (in the third quarter). South Dakota had 21 turnovers. That was a big part of the ball game. When we win the turnover battle by 10 (11-21) and the rebounding battle by 12 (33-21), it’s hard (for South Dakota) to win on the road.”
Arkansas hosts Stetson on Monday to close out the season-opening four-game home stand. Arkansas will then travel to Reno, Nevada, for two games in the Nugget Classic against Memphis and Nevada/Navy. The next home date for Arkansas is an SEC/Big 12 Challenge matchup with Texas Tech on Saturday, Dec. 3.