Tuesday, November 18, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Jackson, Wolff lead Razorback Women

Special to The Leader

FAYETTEVILLE – Between them, Razorbacks forwards Jessica Jackson and Melissa Wolff from Jacksonville and Cabot led Arkansas’ 75-46 women’s basketball victory over the Savannah State Tigers Sunday at Walton Arena.

Arkansas answered Savannah State’s lone lead (1-0) with an 11-0 run. Other than Savannah State cutting it to 26-20, the Razorbacks never looked back — up 34-20 at half, and increasing that to up 21, 47-26 by 13:39.

Jackson and Wolff, 10 points each, tallied 20 of Arkansas’ 34 first-half points. For the game Jackson finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds and surpassed her 500th career point just two games into her sophomore season.

Wolff, career highs 17 points and 13 rebounds in Arkansas’ season-opening victory Friday over Nicholls State, finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds Sunday while sophomore guard Kelsey Brooks scored eight in the second half to finish with 12 and Katie Powell scored seven second-half points to finish with 10.

“For Jessica to have 500 points two games into her sophomore year shows you she can score,” Arkansas first-year Coach Jimmy Dykes said. “I challenged her to get four offensive rebounds today and she got five and 12 rebounds total. So I see her growth as far as getting on the boards and she runs the floor better than last year. She has a chance to be really good.”

Jackson was hugely heralded out of high school, but junior Wolff is regarded as more of a blue-collar plugger.

Is Dykes surprised by her white-collar scoring?

“Wolff has surprised me with the confidence she has gained offensively,” Dykes said. “She was not an offensively confident kid when I took over this program but she jumps up and shoots that 15-footer as well as anybody I have. What doesn’t surprise me about Mo is her motor. I don’t know why they call her that but I would call her that because of her motor. It’s nonstop.

“She deserves everything she is getting, the back-to-back doubles-doubles. To me she is the heartbeat and pulse of this basketball team.”

Kenyata Hendrix’s 15 points led Savannah State.

Ezienne Kalu, Savannah State’s All-MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) Player needed 15 shots to score 11 against Brooks’ defense, Dykes said.

At home last Friday, Savannah State routed Columbia College 100-60 the same night that Arkansas opened its season defeating Nicholls State, 63-52 in Fayetteville.

The Razorbacks, 2-0, play their first road game Thursday night at Middle Tennessee State. MTSU is a NCAA Tournament team that “will show us where we are as a basketball team.” Arkansas will return to Walton Arena next Sunday afternoon against Northwestern (La.) State.

Savannah State next plays Thursday at home against Alabama State, whose men’s team played against the Razorbacks men Sunday afternoon at Walton after the women’s game. Dykes joked he was under the gun to win off the football success of Bret Bielema’s Razorbacks over LSU Saturday night and the women’s soccer team’s NCAA Tournament victory Friday at Oklahoma and volleyball team’s SEC victory over South Carolina Friday.

“There was a lot of pressure on me to win with the soccer team and the volleyball team and Bret Bielema winning Saturday night,” Dykes said. “I didn’t want to be the one to stop the winning.