No. 20 WBB stymies Arkansas in OT, 72-61

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Coach Balcomb’s Postgame Press Conference

Press Conference with Wirth, Marsh

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Merideth Marsh scored a career-high 21 points to help Vanderbilt (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) beat Arkansas 72-61 in overtime on Thursday night.

Marsh was 5-for-6 on 3-pointers and made two free throws during a 13-0 run by Commodores (16-5, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) to close the game.

Arkansas (12-9, 1-5) overcame a 15-point second-half deficit with a dominating rebounding effort and career highs of 20 points and 15 rebounds by Ashley McCray. The Razorbacks finished with a 58-28 edge in rebounds.

“We played the first five minutes great of each half great,” Melanie Balcomb, VU head coach, said, “and it was really tough to watch us play rough the rest of the time. It was just hard to watch, but we came through in overtime.”

A driving layup by Ceira Ricketts with 3:33 left in the extra period gave the Razorbacks their only lead of the contest, 61-59.

Jessica Mooney answered with four straight free throws and put Vanderbilt back in front to stay. Mooney finished with 14 points, and Jennifer Risper and Christina Wirth each had 13.

McCray shot 9-for-13 from the field and her layup with 1:12 remaining tied it 59-59. She missed a putback as the buzzer sounded at the end of regulation.

The Razorbacks outscored Vanderbilt 19-4 over the final 8:41 of regulation. They tied the score twice in the final 2:20, the first when Lyndsay Harris banked in a 3-pointer which made it 57-57.

“Every game has been tough and the nice thing is that we’ve been on the winning side of the SEC except for one game,” noted Balcomb. “We can’t beat ourselves up about it; we have to move forward.”

Arkansas outrebounded Vanderbilt 32-13 in the first half and scored 12 second-chance points on 16 offensive rebounds. They allowed just three points in the final 5:13 of the first half and closed to 27-26 at halftime.

Whitney Jones also had a double-double with 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds. Ricketts had 17 points.

Vanderbilt held the Razorbacks scoreless for the first 5:48, built a 9-0 lead and never trailed during regulation. The largest margin was 55-40 after a layup by Risper.