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Neighbors happy team ahead of schedule so far

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Photographs by Andy Shupe

Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors directs his players against Abilene Christian Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, during the second half in Bud Walton Arena.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The Arkansas women's basketball team will enjoy the comforts of home for five of its next six games, beginning with tonight's game against UNC Charlotte at 7 in Walton Arena.

The Razorbacks (5-3) are coming off a 71-60 loss at Kansas on Sunday, their fifth game away from home already this season.

Arkansas women vs. UNC Charlotte

WHEN 7 p.m. today

WHERE Walton Arena, Fayetteville

RECORDS UNC Charlotte 3-5; Arkansas 5-3

SERIES First meeting

RADIO KABZ-FM 103.7 in Little Rock; KQSM-FM 92.1 in Fayetteville; KFPW-AM 1230 and KFPW-FM 94.5 in Fort Smith; KURM-AM 790 and KURM-FM 100.3 in Rogers.

INTERNET SEC Network-Plus

PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS

ARKANSAS

POS NAME HT. YR.;PPG;RPG

G Malica Monk 5-5 Jr.;19.1;4.4

G Devin Cosper 5-10 Sr.;18.0;6.6

G Jailyn Mason 5-9 So.;8.5;4.0

F Bailey Zimmerman 6-0 Jr.;1.6;2.6

P Kiara Williams 6-1 So.;7.6;7.4

COACH Mike Neighbors (5-3 in first season at Arkansas, 103-44 in fifth season overall)

UNC CHARLOTTE

POS NAME HT. YR.;PPG;RPG

G Amaya Ransom 5-11 Sr.;13.9;5.6

G Laia Raventos 5-7 Jr.;13.4;3.8

G Octavia Wilson 5-8 Fr.;11.1;3.9

F Niyllah Jamison-Myers;6-4 Sr.;10.3;5.5

F Dara Pearson 6-3 So.;3.6;7.6

COACH Cara Consuegra (115-80 in seventh season at Charlotte and overall)

TEAM COMPARISON

UNC Charlotte;;Arkansas

64.1;Points for;70.5

66.4;Points against;64.5

-5.0;Rebound margin;2.3

6.6;Turnover margin;-2.3

39.7;FG pct.;.36.9

31.7;3-pt FG pct.;27.8

65.3;FT pct.;.66.0

CHALK TALK Niyllah Jamison-Myers led UNC Charlotte with 18 points in just 19 in minutes in its victory over Coppin State … Laia Raventos added 11 assists for the 49ers in the victory. … Arkansas Coach Mike Neighbors does a pregame talk with fans at 6:35 p.m. on the east concourse of Walton Arena. …. The Razorbacks will be available for a postgame autograph session on the floor. … Arkansas ranks first in the SEC and eighth in the country with 81 turnovers in 8 games and second in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (10.1).

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Coach Mike Neighbors said his team faced a new challenge as Malica Monk and Jailyn Mason both picked up two quick fouls against the Jayhawks. But he was pleased with the way his team responded.

"I did learn that we can adjust on the fly," Neighbors said. "I had to put Dev [Cosper] in there at the point. And there was no panic. I thought Mal and Jailyn stayed real composed with foul trouble and then Mal went out and had a second half that got us back in the game."

Monk finished with a team-high 21 points and played 32 of 40 minutes, despite the foul problems. Sophomore Kiara Williams also turned in a big effort with a career-high 16 rebounds. Both Monk and Cosper (17 points) have now scored in double figures in all eight games.

Neighbors said his team's ahead of schedule in his first season at Arkansas.

"I remember what is looked like and felt like and smelled like in year one," Neighbors said. "And I'd tell you we're certainly ahead."

Monk and Cosper, who are averaging 19.1 points and 18 respectively, have gotten comfortable quickly with Neighbors' fast-paced system and the 6-1 Williams has blossomed in her second season, too, Neighbors said. She's leading the team with more than seven rebounds per game.

"That's not one of those things if we're sitting around at the beginning of the year, 'Hey, Mal and Dev are going to be averaging 18 apiece,'" Neighbors said with a laugh. "They are certainly capable. Kiara's job on the glass at her size and with her experience has been pleasant.

"I wouldn't have ever set out, based on the teams we've been playing that's a kid who's been rebounding like she is."

UNC Charlotte (3-5) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 78-49 victory over Coppin State on Sunday. The 49ers have spent most of their time on the road, too. Sunday's victory was just UNC Charlotte's third home game out of eight.

Senior Amaya Ransom leads a balanced scoring attack, averaging 13.9 points per game. She's one of four 49ers averaging in double figures. Nyilah Jamison-Myers, a 6-foot-4 senior, averages 10.3 points per game and earned preseason All-Conference USA honors.

Sports on 12/07/2017

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