By Nate Allen
Special to the News-Times
FAYETTEVILLE - Some very good to great SEC women’s basketball teams have trounced the Arkansas Razorbacks women this season.
Don’t count the Tennessee Lady Vols among them.
Coach Holly Warlick’s 11th-ranked Lady Vols certainly are very good.
And they did defeat Arkansas.
But trounce Arkansas they did not.
The Lady Vols had to overcome two Arkansas one-point fourth-quarter leads at 7:06 and 5:02 and get a spectacular performance by freshman guard Rennia Davis, who had 33 points and 14 rebounds, along with 21 points by teammate Meme Jackson to survive 90-85 Thursday night at Walton Arena.
Arkansas' Devin Cosper (29 points) and junior guard and North Little Rock native Malica Monk (25 points) performed spectacularly in counterpoint, including a combined 10-of-14 treys, while Arkansas guard Jailyn Mason scored to keep coach Mike Neighbors’ Razorbacks in it until the end despite Tennessee erasing the boards with a 45-26 advantage.
The severely challenged, but victorious Lady Vols exit 20-4 overall and 8-3 in the SEC, while Arkansas goes to 12-12 and 3-8 into its 4 p.m. Sunday SEC game with Missouri at Walton.
Although outrebounded 28-15 for the first two quarters, the Razorbacks stayed within halftime hailing distance of the Lady Vols by hitting 6-of-14 first-half treys.
Tennessee matched Arkansas on first-half tried treys, but only hit 3-of-14 against the Razorbacks’ zone.
The Razorbacks would have trailed by less had they made any of their free throws.
Arkansas went 0-for-4 from the charity stripe in the first half.
Cosper missed her first-half free throws, but did everything else offensively hitting 3-of-4 threes among her 5-for-7 shots and matching Davis’ 13 first-half points.
Monk hit her two first-half 3-point shots to score eight in the first half that Tennessee never led by more than four and Arkansas only led by one or two.
The Vols led, but never could break Arkansas the entire third quarter.
They were only up three when Davis' steal led to Jaime Nared’s two free throws with nine seconds left.
Nared finished with 16 for the Lady Vols.