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Around the NCAAW Weekly: Arkansas won’t leave the rankings without a fight

Alexis Tolefree has been on fire lately for the Arkansas Razorbacks, who managed a 1-1 week with a huge bounce-back win over the Kentucky Wildcats. Meanwhile, the No. 3 Oregon Ducks topped the No. 5 UConn Huskies on sacred ground in Storrs.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 21 Women’s Arkansas at Tennessee
Alexis Tolefree helped prevent Arkansas from falling out of the Top 25.
Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“Around the NCAAW Weekly” highlights the notable events of the week. Check out the surprises, milestones, best games and outstanding performances for games played through Sunday, Feb. 9:


No. 23 Arkansas Razorbacks

The Razorbacks lost to the No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks by 21 points on Feb. 6 and were clinging to the No. 25 spot in the rankings.

But on Feb. 9 the Razorbacks responded with a very impressive 103-85 win over the No. 18 Kentucky Wildcats, a victory that was spearheaded by senior guard Alexis Tolefree’s 30 points. Kentucky was ranked 15th at the time and its star player, Rhyne Howard, was back from a finger injury. Even with Howard scoring 20 points and her teammate Chasity Patterson dropping 32, the Razorbacks still pulled off the upset and got back on track.

Tolefree notched her second-ever 30-point outing in the win. Her first came just one week earlier on Feb. 2 against the Missouri Tigers, when she scored 35.

In addition to Tolefree’s individual achievement, the Razorbacks did a couple things on Feb. 9 that their program hadn’t seen in a long time. The 103 points marked the program’s highest scoring output since 2009 and its 59.3 percent field goal percentage was its highest since 2013. Also, the 103 points is the highest scoring total that Arkansas has ever had in SEC play, and it was highlighted by an incredible 14-of-21 effort from distance.

The Razorbacks defeated Kentucky for the first time since 2011 in front of their largest home crowd (5,638) since 2011.

No. 3 Oregon Ducks

The Ducks made news with their 74-56 triumph over the No. 5 UConn Huskies on Feb. 3. The Huskies suffered the loss at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs; the last team to beat them at Gampel was the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Jan. 5, 2013.

The 18-point margin that Oregon won by marked the Huskies’ largest margin of defeat at home since losing to the UNC Tar Heels by 23 on Dec. 5, 2005.

Keni Jo Lippe of the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles

On Feb. 9, Lippe scored 46 points, hauled in 11 rebounds and swiped four steals in an overtime win over the North Dakota State Bison. She now holds the all-time Summitt League record for individual scoring in a single game. 46 points is also the new high for anyone in Division I women’s basketball this season.

Milestones and accomplishments

No. 5 UConn Huskies

On Feb. 7, UConn won its 20th game of 2019-20. The Huskies have now reached 20 wins 27 seasons in a row.

No. 10 Maryland Terrapins

On Feb. 9, the Terrapins won their 20th game of the season — a feat that has been accomplished by the program 16 seasons in a row.

Kathleen Doyle of the No. 17 Iowa Hawkeyes

Doyle dished out 15 assists — an Iowa program record for a single game — on Feb. 6 in a 76-60 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Cori Close, head coach of the No. 7 UCLA Bruins

In an exciting 79-69 UCLA win over then-No. 6 Stanford Cardinal on Feb. 7, Close secured her 100th Pac-12 victory.

Games of the Week

Penn Quakers over Columbia Lions, 86-84 (OT) on Feb. 7

Carly Rivera hit a 3-pointer for Columbia to cut Penn’s lead to one with four seconds to go, but it was too little, too late for the Lions.

In a game that featured 14 lead changes, the Quakers led by eight at halftime and by five entering the fourth, but failed to close out the game in regulation.

Eleah Parker’s 28 points and 13 rebounds paved the way to victory for Penn. Columbia’s Abbey Hsu scored 28 points and added eight rebounds in defeat.

No. 12 Arizona Wildcats over No. 11 Oregon State Beavers, 65-58 (OT) on Feb. 9

Taylor Jones made a layup with 1:24 left in the fourth to send this one to overtime, but the Wildcats outscored the Beavers by seven points in the extra frame to secure the win in Corvallis. Aari McDonald led all scorers with 22 points and also had nine rebounds in what was Arizona’s first-ever road victory over a Top 10 team. Dominque McBryde added 19 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the winners.

No. 7 UCLA Bruins over California Golden Bears, 74-70 (OT) on Feb. 9

A Michaela Onyenwere jumper with 27 seconds left in overtime proved to be the game-winner for UCLA. Cal’s Jaelyn Brown missed a shot to tie at the 18-second mark and Japreece Dean iced the game with two free throws for the Bruins. Onyenwere led all scorers with 21 points.

The Golden Bears came back from down eight with 6:05 left in regulation, with CJ West’s two free throws with 1:30 left forcing overtime.

Other top performances

Michaela Onyenwere: 29 points and 10 rebounds for the UCLA Bruins in a win over the Stanford Cardinal on Feb. 7. Here are some of her highlights from that game:

Jaylyn Agnew: 38 points and four assists for the Creighton Blue Jays in a win over the Providence Friars on Feb. 8.

Chasity Patterson: 32 points and four rebounds for the Kentucky Wildcats in a loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks on Feb. 9.

Petra Holesinska: 28 points and five rebounds for the Illinois Fighting Illini in a win over the Penn State Nittany Lions on Feb. 9.

Aniya Thomas: 28 points and four assists for the Kansas Jayhawks in a loss to the TCU Horned Frogs on Feb. 8.

Best upcoming matchup

No. 6 Mississippi State Bulldogs (22-3, 10-1 SEC) at No. 18 Kentucky Wildcats (18-5, 7-4 SEC)

When: Sunday, Feb. 16, at 5 p.m. ET

Where: Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, KY

How to watch/listen: ESPN2/Kentucky Wildcats TV or Hail State Plus