Gardner Wants Quicker Start

FAYETTEVILLE -- Susie Gardner is experienced enough in her coaching to understand a win is a win. But Gardner wouldn't mind it if her team made things a little easier when possible.

"These last two games against Western (Kentucky) and Indiana, we've gotten off to such a slow start," Gardner said. "We've got to get off to a better start.

"We can't keep coming from behind and expect good things to happen."

While Gardner has watched as her Lady Razorbacks basketball team has rallied for back-to-back home wins -- 83-79 against Western Kentucky last Sunday and 53-50 against Indiana on Wednesday -- the play at times has been frustrating.

Particularly in the win against the Hoosiers, where Arkansas (5-1) shot under 35 percent from the field and needed a late push to extend its home winning streak against nonconference foes to 19 games.

"As a younger coach, I would have gone home and beat myself up over a win like that, because you want perfection. You want better shooting percentage and stuff like that," Gardner said. "But now I analyze things a little differently. I can say, you know what, we fought for 40 minutes, we could have folded and we found a way to win.

"So I think I look at wins a little different now instead of beating myself up."

So far, Arkansas has been racking up wins -- good or bad. And the Lady'Backs will look to make it four in a row tonight when Wichita State visits Bud Walton Arena for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Last season, Arkansas visited Wichita and came away with an 81-72 win against the Shockers. Former Lady'Back Shameka Christon led the way in the victory, scoring 28 points.

While Arkansas looks much different without Christon, Gardner said fans can expect to see a different-looking group of Shockers tonight as well.

"I think they're not even close to last year's team," Gardner said. "They lost six seniors to graduation, so they're virtually a whole new team and they're starting a couple of freshman.

"But they play great defense and it's a defense where they get up in your face and after you. They're well-coached. Jane Albright does a great job with them and they play hard for her."

After its game against the Shockers, Arkansas hits the road for a Dec. 7 contest at Memphis. The Lady'Backs will return to action in Fayetteville on Dec. 16 against Louisiana-Lafayette.

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