Allen Makes Big Splash In Red-White Game

FAYETTEVILLE -- When sophomore forward Danielle Allen scored 23 points and gathered 12 rebounds in the Lady Razorbacks' Red-White basketball game last week, she nearly matched her production of all last season.

Playing just 9.1 minutes per game as a freshman, Allen averaged only 1.1 points and 1.9 rebounds per contest.

"I was miserable," Allen said. "I didn't even play against LSU, and after the game I just drove around and cried for hours. I hated basketball."

Allen, a four-spot star at Harrison High, was used to being the main woman. She led Harrison to four straight Class AAAA state championship games, winning the first three.

But at Arkansas she found a first-year coach, Susie Gardner, and a fourth-year superstar, Shameka Christon. Allen had to switch positions from power forward to small forward.

"There was a lot of tension built up inside me last year," Allen admitted. "It was kind of hard, because before the game it was like 'if 'Meka doesn't have a good game we're going to lose.' That's how we felt."

Now that Christon has completed her eligibility, Gardner has moved Allen back to her more familiar four spot.

She will make her first career start against Everyone's Internet in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. Friday at Bud Walton Arena.

"I'm out to prove to myself I can still play," Allen said. "I know I can."

Allen will share the position with fellow sophomore Sarah Pfeifer of Ozark, who will likely start much of the time this season.

"We've got about eight players who could start," Gardner said. "Friday night is more about rewarding those who played well in the Red-White Game."

Still, Allen takes the opportunity seriously.

"It was like a big shock to me," she said. "When I worked with the Red team in practice (Wednesday), I knew I couldn't slack off. I wanted to work harder than I've ever worked, because I want to keep that starting position."

Could there be times when both Pfeifer and Allen will start?

"It would be tough, because it would make us small," Gardner said. "I don't see it happening in SEC play. We might use a three-post set. That doesn't make much sense when you have eight guards, but I've done it before."

Gardner likes the luxury of having two different types at one position.

"The quickness of Danielle and the toughness of Sarah," she said.

Allen said she looks for all-you-can-eat buffets and lifts weights to try to bulk up like Pfeifer.

"Our trainer, Phil Vardimann, calls Sarah a beast in the weight room and I say, 'What about me?' Allen lamented. "He calls me a flower."

Pfeifer, overhearing as she left the court Wednesday, pointed to a large welt on her arm and called theatrically to Allen, "Don't be talking about me. You caused this bruise!"

The Lady'Backs were in good spirits Wednesday, because 6-3 center Ruby Vaden had returned to practice and reminded them why she was picked for Second Team All-SEC.

"Ruby brings a lot of energy, she's funny and she runs the floor," Allen said. "You forget how fast she is."

Some expect Arkansas to fold without Christon, but Allen said, "I think we're a little more like a family now. Last year we had specific plays for Shameka. Now, three or four people can score off those plays."

When a TV reporter asked Allen how she would replace Christon, Allen did a double-take and said, "I'm not here to replace anyone -- especially Shameka. I bring a different aspect. We're both skinny and quick, but I just try to hustle, do my best and bring in some things we lost."

Allen warned fans not to expect too much against Everyone's Internet, a team of former college stars that played No. 2 LSU within eight points. She may get to guard former South Carolina speedster Jocelynn Penn, a 6-foot forward.

"I'm not going to say we'll beat them," Allen said. "But we're not going to give up at all. We'll have to play within every inch of ourselves."

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