Lady'Backs Use Defense To Dismantle Alabama State

FAYETTEVILLE -- Danielle Allen scored 20 points -- just 10 fewer than she had all last season -- to lead Arkansas past Alabama State 74-49 in women's basketball before 2,150 fans in Bud Walton Arena on Friday night.

The Lady Razorbacks (1-0) pressured Alabama State (0-1) into 45 turnovers -- a UA opponent record -- to help offset a 46-33 rebounding disadvantage.

Arkansas had caused 43 turnovers in a 102-48 win over Murray State in 1990.

Allen, a 6-foot sophomore from Harrison whose previous high was five points, was pleasantly surprised with her 9-of-11 shooting night from the field.

I didn't really know I'd scored that much until Rochelle (Vaughn) told me," Allen said. "I said 'Twenty turnovers? Twenty missed free throws?' But it was fun. My teammates gave me a lot of good passes."

Allen was barely exaggerating about the missed free throws. She made just 2-of-7, while Arkansas converted just 21-of-42 for 50 percent.

Kristin Peoples, who scored 14 points for Arkansas and made 4-of-7 free throws, insisted, "We're a really good free throw shooting team. We just weren't taking our time on the line tonight."

The Lady'Backs did improve their field goal percentage from .288 in their last exhibition game to .419 against Alabama State. That included just one 3-pointer, made by guard April Seggebruch with 58.7 seconds left in the game.

Only three times in school history, and not since 1993 against Florida, has Arkansas failed to make a 3.

The Lady'Backs did a good job defensively on 6-foot-5 Hornets center Crystal Kitt, who fouled out with 10 points and 7 rebounds in just 20 minutes of play.

"Crystal never got untracked tonight," said Alabama State coach Freda Freeman-Jackson.

Allen took a charge early against Kitt, who had to deal with double-teams and a fast-paced game.

Shantae Robinson led the Hornets with 14 points, followed by guard Latoya Johnson with 13 points.

"Arkansas played really aggressively, made plays when they needed them and never stopped hustling," Freeman-Jackson said. "This was a great experience for us."

The physical game helped Arkansas, too.

UA coach Susie Gardner reminded Allen that she would face just that type of game in the Southeastern Conference.

"I only got three rebounds," Allen said. "I can't let people rip the ball away like that."

Gardner said she normally makes players run one sprint per rebound deficit, but she'll rescind the punishment today as the Lady'Backs prepare for a 2 p.m. Sunday game against Centenary.

"We ran well tonight, and Allen was posting hard," Gardner said. "She used her left hand very well. We've got to get Ruby (Vaden) and Kristin (Moore) going inside, too."

Moore had 7 points and 8 rebounds for Arkansas; Seggebruch had 5 points and 5 rebounds; guard Brittney Vaughn was active with 7 points, 4 assists and 3 steals; and Sheree Thompson had 6 points and 3 steals in her first start.

Sarah Pfeifer, hit hard on an early drive, had 4 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals in 9 minutes for Arkansas. Vaden had 5 points in 16 minutes.

Peoples, who had 4 of Arkansas' 24 steals, said, "Our goal is to frustrate other teams with our press and by denying the wings in our half-court defense. We want to cause turnovers and get easy baskets.

Arkansas led 34-30 at halftime, and quickly increased the lead as Allen scored eight of the Lady'Backs' first 10 points in the second half on the way to a 58-40 advantage.

UA guard Adrienne Bush suffered a mild concussion and may not practice today, but could possibly play Sunday.

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