Taller Arkansas ‘too much’ for women’s basketball at start string of away game

Isabella Schreck, Sports Editor

The Southeastern Conference’s Arkansas has six players 6-foot-1 or taller on its squad — and three started against Kent State Thursday.

With only one of his starters over six feet tall, coach Todd Starkey said the women’s basketball program struggled with the Razorbacks’ size.

“Their size and athleticism was just a bit too much for us to handle,” he said.

The Flashes lost to Arkansas 80-59.

Sophomore guard Samara Spencer, last season’s SEC freshman of the year, led the Razorbacks with 22 points and three pointers.

This was the first time Kent State has scored under 70 points this season.

KSU is now 1-2 on the season. The team has eight non-conference games left before conference play, and only one is against a Power 5 team.

Playing from behind all night

The Flashes had an 8-6 lead at the start of the first quarter. Then Arkansas tied the game 8-8 and stayed ahead the rest of the night.

A 3-pointer from graduate student guard Hannah Young brought Kent State within two with 1:24 left in the period. The Razorbacks had a 24-17 lead by the end of the first.

Going into Thursday, Kent State had the lead by the end of the first quarter in each of its games this season.

Arkansas held KSU to 41.67% shooting from the first in the second quarter and led 46-29 at halftime.

“We could’ve done a few things better in the first half to keep it a little closer,” Starkey said.

The Razorbacks were winning 64-46 by the end of the third quarter. With 8:03 left in the fourth, the team had a 27-point lead, its highest of the game. The score was 75-48.

Kent State went 22-of-60 from the field; Arkansas went 30-of-66.

The Razorbacks had 10 offensive rebounds – the Flashes made four.

“They’re playing 6’ 3 to 6′ 6 out there at any given time, so it’s hard to come up with rebounds against that kind of size,” Starkey said.

Senior guard Katie Shumate led her team for the second time this season with 12 points and tied with graduate student forward Lindsey Thall for two 3-pointers.

Thall, 6-foot-2, is the tallest player on her team.

With a 3-pointer in the third period, Shumate earned the 1,000th point of her career. She now has 1,007.

Since her freshman year, the season she suffered a knee injury, the senior guard has started in nearly every game.

“She’s worked really hard,” Starkey said. “Anytime you’re a 1,000-point scorer, you’re doing things right and to get through some of the adversity that she’s gotten through over the last two years to reach that milestone, I’m really proud of her. She’s meant a lot to our program and has a lot of big things yet to come.”

Freshman guard Corynne Hauser had 10 points, going 4-of-8 from the field. She has averaged 19.3 minutes per game and has totaled 28 points on the season.

“She did some good things,” Starkey said. “She’s very talented – got a lot of capabilities. Once her confidence just continues to grow, she’s going to be a heck of a player.”

Up next: Oklahoma State, two of four consecutive away games 

The Flashes play at Big 12’s Oklahoma State at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The Cowgirls are 4-0 on the season. They have scored at least 89 points in their first three games. In the team’s latest game against Missouri State Thursday, OSU won 73-54.

Fifth year guard Claire Chastain, a transfer from UT Arlington, leads the team with 45 points. Junior forward Lior Garzon has totaled 39 points and a team-best 11 3-pointers.

Four other players have scored over 25 points.

Against Missouri State, redshirt fifth year guard Naomie Alnatas scored a team-best 28 points and five 3-pointers.​​ She transferred from Kansas City this year.

“There’s some things execution-wise defensively that we can shore up and be better prepared for an Oklahoma State team that I think we match up against better,” Starkey said.

Isabella Schreck is sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].