(Photo Courtesy: Walt Beazley)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - Keira Peak scored 16 points to lead all scorers and Jhasmin Bowen added a season-high 14, as the University of Arkansas women's basketball team (6-0) earned a 61-46 win over Western Michigan (2-4) inside Bud Walton Arena on Sunday.
It was an all-around day for Peak, who shot 41 percent from the field and added nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. Bowen spread herself out as well, contributing six rebounds, two blocks and a pair of assists.
"We've been waiting for Jhas to get going this year," Collen said. "She and Keira both played well today. It's a good sign and we know that if we can get them the ball, they can both score."
The Razorbacks opened with an early 10-7 lead six minutes in, as both teams suffered from cold shooting starts. Western Michigan shot just 29 percent from the field, while Arkansas was 31 percent. Peak hustled for six early points, as the Razorbacks worked down low for a 10-to-4 rebounding advantage, including five offensive boards and six second-chance points.
Just 1-for-7 from three-point range, Arkansas went inside and began to find its scoring stride in the first half. Fifty-five percent of the Razorbacks' first-half points came in the paint. The result was a 13-3 UA run, as Bowen scored six points over the stretch and helped UA push its lead to double digits.
Having already totaled a season-high 12 points over the first half, Bowen shot 4-for-6 from the floor and a perfect 4-for-4 at the free-throw line to go along with three rebounds and two blocks by halftime. The resurgence of the Razorback offense and Bowen helped UA improve to 44 percent shooting and take a 36-24 lead into the locker room.
The Razorbacks showed no signs of an offensive struggle coming out of the half, making 5-of-8 (62.5%) from the floor and opening up a 47-31 lead at the 14:40 mark of the second half.
Arkansas took care of the basketball, turning it over only a season-low eight times while also forcing WMU into 21 mistakes on the day. Peak (3), Calli Berna (2) and Melissa Wolff (2) each recorded steals.
Wolff came in off the bench and helped preserved the win, providing a late source of offense with six points on 3-of-5 shooting in 13 minutes of second-half action.
"We have to give Western Michigan a lot of credit today," Collen said. "They controlled the game early and didn't let Keira or Kelsey (Brooks) harass their point guard and that took a little intensity out of us defensively. We were a bit fatigued as well and they made us work and wore us out. We are happy to be 6-0 at this point of the season."
Having wrapped up its longest homestand of the season, Arkansas hits the road for the first time this season and travels next to Albuquerque, N.M., for the New Mexico Tournament. The Razorbacks open tournament play against Southeast Missouri on Nov. 29 with tip scheduled for 6 p.m.