Nate Allen Sports
FAYETTEVILLE – Since the nationally No. 23 Iowa State Cyclones of the Big 12 couldn’t stop Arkansas’ Chelsea Dungee from scoring 27 points Sunday in Ames, Ia., it figured Dungee would score more Tuesday in Fayetteville against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles of the Ohio Valley Conference.
And she did. Dungee scored her Arkansas career high 28 leading Coach Mike Neighbors’ Razorbacks to a 65-42 victory that Arkansas had in hand with an 18-4 first quarter extended to 58-27 after three quarters before clearing the bench in the fourth quarter.
Bouncing back from Sunday’s 91-82 loss at Iowa State, Arkansas outscored Tennessee Tech, 10-0 off first quarter turnovers while throwing a game-long block party.
The Razorbacks, now 6-3, heading into Saturday afternoon’s game at Abilene Christian in Abilene, Texas, blocked a UA record 13 shots for a game Tuesday night. Starting center Kiara Williams blocked five, and reserve center Macy Weaver blocked four.
Arkansas defense in general, block party in particular and Dungee’s offense all impressed veteran Tennessee Tech Coach Kim Rosamond whose Golden Eagles, winning Sunday at Wichita State, fall to 5-4.
“Hats off to Coach Neighbors,” Rosamond said. “We knew they could score but they defended really well. The turnovers (21 to Arkansas’ nine) hurt us. We wanted to attack them in the paint but that didn’t work out too well for us. Kiara Williams played very well i the paint. Their physicalness and speed just overwhelmed us.”
Williams, 6-1 usually up against bigger frontlines, obviously relished repeatedly thwarting the shots of those her own size.
“I was surprised they kept coming in,” Williams said. “But they dribble drive just like we do. Coach did remind me ‘Don’t get too comfortable blocking shots because that won’t carry over until the next game.”
But blocking 13 shots while only committing 12 fouls, he’ll take that gladly, Neighbors said.
“If I had looked down there and we had more fouls than blocks I wouldn’t feel that good,” Neighbors said. “Kiara was really active early and then Macy late in the game. That’s a bunch of blocks, maybe the most I’ve ever been a part of. It’s not something we actively tried to do but they shot only nine free throws so we’ll take that.”
Dungee, the sophomore transfer from the University of Oklahoma who pestered Iowa State getting to the free throw line 16 times and hitting 13, scored her 28 Tuesday without a free throw attempt. Instead she hit 4 hit of 6 threes among her 12 of 18 from night from the field.
For her last four games in victories over Wisconsin, Oral Roberts, Iowa State and Tennessee Tech, Dungee has tallied 20, 21, 27 and 28 points.
“I feel like I’ve got the hot hand right now,” Dungee, who had to redshirt last year as a transfer, said. “Just confidence from practice. I shoot a lot in practice and that’s where that confidence comes from.”
Confident and “getting really comfortable,” Neighbors said.
“She’s a gym rat and is under control and doing it a lot of different ways,” Neighbors said. “To get 28 today without a free throw and 27 the other day with 16 free throws, that shows you what a matchup problem she can create. She’s taking those in rhythm threes. When she starts feeling it, look out. She can back you off and then hit that jump shot from 15.”
Both Dungee and Williams, a junior 2-year letterwoman from Little Rock Central, said shaking off playing Iowa State close but not close enough on the road Sunday and then bouncing back with energy Tuesday night was a team goal.
Definitely so, Neighbors said, crediting assistant coach Todd Schaefer.
“Bouncing back off a short turnaround and really executing the game plan that Coach Schaefer put together was our most complete defensive effort of the year.”
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