Basketball

How South Carolina’s ‘demoralizing’ women’s basketball defense ended Arkansas

How South Carolina's 'demoralizing' women's basketball defense ended Arkansas

Arkansas women’s basketball coach Mike Neighbors described the game No. 1 South Carolina as “demoralizing”.

“You think you’re in it,” Neighbors said. “You’re playing well. You look up and you’re down 12.”

That’s exactly what happened to Arkansas in their 76-54 loss to South Carolina in the third round of the SEC Tournament in Nashville on Friday. After watching Game 4 of 17 from the field, eighth-seeded Arkansas (18-13) improved in the second quarter and held off the top-seeded Gamecocks (28-1) scoreless for about three minutes.

Still, the Razorbacks have only ever come within nine in this quarter.

“It has a cumulative effect that wears you down,” Neighbors said. “It gets frustrating for me, and I know it gets frustrating for the kids because it’s so hard to function. You think you’re open, and then they’re there.”

South Carolina guard Zia Cooke (1) fights through a screen from Arkansas Jersey guard Wolfenbarger, center, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Women's Tournament of the Southeastern Conference, Friday, March 4, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.

Arkansas will now wait to learn the fate of its NCAA tournament. ESPN projects the Razorbacks as a 10-seeded player playing Ames, Iowa, in its latest bracketology. The selection show is in March (7 p.m. CT, ESPN).

South Carolina’s defense was all over the place, holding the league leader 3-for-5 for 31.

A big part of that was Brea Beal’s work on guarding Arkansas Amber Ramirez. Ramirez is averaging 42% from 3-point range and was 3-3 against Missouri on Thursday. Against Beal and the Gamecocks, however, she was 0 for 2 with eight points. Beal tends to keep his opponents’ top scorers.