Scott set for return as Arkansas hosts Alabama looking to push winning streak to three
on 2024-02-01 16:29 PM
BY DUDLEY E. DAWSON
Arkansas women’s basketball team will looking to continue its push for an NCAA Tournament berth with a pair of games this week and is getting the SEC’s leading scorer back just in time do so.
Razorback freshman guard Taliah Scott, who has missed the past six games due to a back injury, is expected to see action when Arkansas (16-6, 4-3) hosts Alabama (16-6, 3-4) Thursday night at 8 p.m.
Scott leads the SEC in scoring and is seventh nationally at 22.3 points per game for the Razorbacks, who also host Auburn Sunday at 5 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena.
“She practiced with contact one day last week and one day without,” Arkansas head coach Mike Neighbors noted during a Tuesday press conference. “Today will be Day 2 of contact. We’ll start to ramp her back up and anticipate having her available for the week.”
Arkansas ended January by winning consecutive SEC games over visiting Kentucky (88-61) and at Missouri (67-58), something it had not done up to that point.
“Two games don’t really make a streak, but we’ve been going back and forth, back and forth,” Neighbors said of alternating wins and losses. “But throughout that, I felt like (confidence has) been growing, so I hope it continues. I think we will play our best when we feel our best.”
The Arkansas-Alabama game is a rematch of the Razorbacks’ 77-59 win in Tuscaloosa on Jan. 14.
Arkansas trailed 12-2 early and 32-30 at halftime, but raced away after intermission by outscoring Alabama by 20 points.
“We got off to a horrendous start down there,” Neighbors said. “I was disappointed with that but was proud of our bounce back and our finish.”
Arkansas will be playing its first home game since getting out to an 18-0 lead against Kentucky last Thursday.
“I think at home, our crowd can make such a difference,” Neighbors said. “If we get off to a great start, just like we did against Kentucky, we won that game in the first five minutes of the game.
“It was pretty even after that, but when we get our crowd amped up to start the game, it keeps us playing at a really high level. I think that’ll be important.”
Samara Spencer had a monster outing for the Razorbacks in the first game against Alabama with 31 points and 14 rebounds while Maryam Dauda added 8 points, 12 rebounds and a program record 10 blocks.
Neighbors said he was happy with the win, but thinks there was a false sense of security when he watched a recording of the game.
“Like I’ve always told y’all, it’s usually not ever as good as you think, or as bad as you think,” Neighbors said. “We won the game, so I felt really good on the way back, and then I started watching. They just missed some shots. I’m not sure we made them miss.
“I think those are shots that they’re capable of hitting… I think the score was not indicative of how that game was.”
While getting Scott back, Arkansas is expected to be without Carly Keats after she took an elbow to the face at Missouri.
“Just one of those freak kind of deals,” Neighbors said. “She took a shot to the nose and tried to play with the mask. It was very, very uncomfortable. She was not feeling well.
“…Don’t anticipate her for the weekend. We’ll hope for the best, but not looking good right now.”
Arkansas forward Saylor Poffenbarger (leg injury) remains day-to-day after missing last Thursday’s win over Alabama, but poured in a game-high 24 points on 8 3-pointers in the victory at Missouri.
Photo by John D. James
(Last updated: 2024-02-01 16:29 PM)