STARKVILLE, Miss. — There may have been an upset alert when Arkansas went on the road against No. 10 Mississippi State, but even Alexis Tolefree’s 30 points weren’t enough in a 92-83 loss Thursday night.
The Razorbacks are one of the country’s top scoring teams and the Bulldogs have been slumping on the defensive end of late.
State’s leading scorer, Rickea Jackson, was also questionable due to illness.
Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer turned to what he called his “secret weapon.”
Freshman guard Aliyah Matharu drew the start, played 38 minutes and scored 18 points.
Jessika Carter had 21 points and 11 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season and five Mississippi State players scored in double figures.
The Bulldogs shot 58% and dominated in the paint, outscoring the Razorbacks 56-34 inside and had a 38-25 edge in rebounding.
The Razorbacks built a 26-24 lead in the first quarter behind 16 points from Tolefree, but whe was held to just three in the second and third quarter combined.
Mississippi State outscored the Razorbacks by 21 points after the first quarter and had a 77-58 advantage going into the final frame.
The biggest issue for the Razorbacks was the lack of production from leading scorer Chelsea Dungee. Having averaged 17.8 points entering the game, Dungee was held to a season-low four points on 1-of-13 shooting. Amber Ramirez had 18 points and hit 6 of 10 3-pointers.
Danberry had 19 points as the Bulldogs’ lone senior on Senior Night. Andra Espinoza-Hunter had 13 points off the bench, and Chloe Bibby finished with 11 points.
After being picked third in the league, the Bulldogs finished ahead of their projected total and have now finished where they were picked or higher in the last six years under former Razorback assistant Schaefer.