LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Matthew Mitchell didn't want a repeat of his team's last performance at Memorial Coliseum, a loss that embarrassed the Kentucky coach.
The ninth-ranked Wildcats (16-4, 4-3 Southeastern Conference), coming off a stunning 57-55 loss to Alabama Thursday, rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half to hand Arkansas its fourth loss in the past five games.
"Coming from down 10 back and to win by 10 was really a great performance in the last 17 minutes," Mitchell said. "I'm proud of the players for gutting out a win that we clearly needed. We put Thursday behind us. We never could figure that one out."
Jennifer O'Neill scored 21 points to lead three players in double figures and set the tone for the Wildcats with 16 points in the first half. O'Neill finished 8 of 12 from the field and made five of Kentucky's nine 3-pointers in the contest. Janee Thompson followed O'Neill with 13 points. Bria Goss added 10 for Kentucky and made a clutch 3-pointer with 2:14 remaining.
"When we were down 10, we played with poise and we came through," the junior guard said. "We played with poise and a sense of urgency."
Mitchell said O'Neill was among several players who were "feeling sorry for themselves" following the loss to Alabama.
"She had to step up," Mitchell said. "She's a very talented player and as you could see, she was the best player on the floor. That's how's she got to play. She made things happen, today."
Jessica Jackson led the Razorbacks (15-5, 2-5) with 23 points.
Jackson's three-point play and 3-pointer during a 12-3 run to open the second half gave the Razorbacks a 44-34 lead with 17:11 remaining.
Kentucky used an 11-2 run to pull within 46-45. Goss scored five points during the spurt.
Arkansas kept the lead until a driving layup by Thompson and a basket by Samarie Walker gave the Wildcats a 53-50 lead with 8:36 remaining.
Thompson scored seven points in a 9-0 run by Kentucky that made it 56-50 lead. Arkansas closed the gap to 56-54 but a 3 by O'Neill pushed the margin to 59-54 with 5:30 left.
Following the two-point loss to the Crimson Tide, Mitchell tweaked his starting lineup, inserting Jelleah Sydney and O'Neill in place of Thompson and DeNesha Stallworth. O'Neill scored five of Kentucky's first 12 points as the Wildcats raced to a 12-4 lead in the first 5 minutes.
"Getting off to a good start was important, and we got off to a good start," Mitchell said.
A 3-pointer by O'Neill ended an 8-0 run by the Razorbacks and gave the Wildcats a 15-12 lead with 10:18 remaining in the first half.
A 3-pointer by Jackson with 27 seconds left in the first half gave the Razorbacks a 32-31 lead. Jackson connected on three 3s in the first half.
Mitchell also made a change defensively, reverting to a 2-3 zone instead of his staple man-to-man scheme. But he used the man-to-man to disrupt Arkansas in the second half.
"We wanted to get some offense and create some shots (from our pressure)," Goss said.
Arkansas coach Tom Collen said Mitchell's decision to stay with the man defense in the second half was a difference in the outcome.
"It sped (the game up) and got the crowd into the game," Collen said. "I thought that was a key decision on their part. They got a much-needed win and we let one slip away."
Jhasmin Bowen added 13 points and Keira Peak had 10 for the Razorbacks.
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