FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Four Tigers scored in double-figures, and the Auburn women's basketball team held off a late Arkansas rally to earn a thrilling 75-72 win Sunday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena.
The Tigers (18-6, 6-5 SEC) saw a 17-point third-quarter lead evaporate as Arkansas' Chelsea Dungee scored 41 points - 32 of them in the second half - but got two late defensive stops and made clutch free throws to hold on for their fifth SEC road win of the year.
"That's a terrific win," Auburn head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy. "The team continued to fight on, got some stops when we needed some stops, and made some baskets when we needed some baskets."
Arkansas took a 71-70 lead with 1:39 to play after Dungee hit four straight free throws. But a steal by Unique Thompson, a subsequent Arkansas foul and two free throws gave the Tigers the lead back at 72-71. Thompson then blocked a Dungee jumper at the other end, Daisa Alexander got the rebound, then hit two more free throws with 4.2 left to make it 74-71.
Auburn would foul Dungee before she could attempt a tying 3-pointer, and she missed the first and made the second to give Auburn the ball back with a 2-point lead. Robyn Benton was fouled before the clock started, made one of two, and Arkansas could not get a shot off before the buzzer.
Thompson picked up her 10th double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds, including the two clutch free throws in the final seconds. Alexander led the Tigers with 18 points, Janiah McKay added 13 along with six assists, and Benton scored 11. Erin Howard had one of her best all-around games of the season with 7 points, a career-high 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals.
Auburn shot 45.9 percent from the field and held Arkansas to a 36.8-percent day. The Tigers forced just 12 turnovers, tied for the fewest this season, but took advantage of the few with 20 points off the Razorbacks' giveaways. Auburn also controlled the inside game, scoring 42 points in the paint to Arkansas' 16. The Tigers also won the rebounding battle 37-32.
The Tigers extended a 14-point halftime lead to as many as 17 early in the third quarter. But from that point, Dungee caught fire and took advantage of numerous free-throw opportunities - she was 17-of-19 for the game - but Auburn still led 60-47 at the end of three.
From there, Arkansas outscored Auburn 16-7 over the next seven-plus minutes to cut the lead to two. A three-point play from Thompson pushed Auburn's lead back to five at 70-65, but Arkansas went on a 6-0 run - including the four Dungee free throws - to take their first lead since the opening minutes.
Alexander knocked down a pair of 3s in the first 10 minutes and scored eight points in the opening quarter as the Tigers led 18-15 at the end of one. The Tigers then went on a 16-2 run over six-plus minutes midway through the second quarter and took a 38-24 lead to the half, their largest in SEC play so far this season.
Auburn's win was its fifth on the road in SEC play, tying the program record for road victories in league play. It also marks Auburn's third win in its last four trips to Fayetteville.
The Tigers continue a two-game road swing Thursday night when they travel to Knoxville to take on Tennessee. Game time is 6 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena.