Lady'Backs Hold On For Win

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Until Tuesday night, "Girls Gone Wild" had not been associated with women's basketball.

But Arkansas' 59-53 win over Memphis was so wild that the Lady Razorbacks followed a 14-0 run by allowing a 16-0 run against them before 1,168 enthusiastic fans in Elma Roane Fieldhouse.

After a combined 44 fouls and 39 turnovers by the two teams, it was little Kristin Peoples who grabbed two defensive rebounds down the stretch to help preserve a UA lead that had shrunk from 51-30 to 53-51.

It was the fifth straight win for Arkansas (7-1).

Peoples had run into a hard screen at midcourt with 3 minutes, 15 seconds left in this rough-and-tumble game, hit her head and stayed down for several minutes

But she told UA coach Susie Gardner she was OK and returned with 2:25 left to provide a calming influence.

Arkansas (7-1) had gone more than eight minutes without scoring before Sarah Pfeifer (11 points) made a driving layup for a 53-46 lead with 4:48 to go.

"We made some bad decisions during that stretch," Gardner said. "We could have folded our tent, but we kept plugging and found a way to win."

Ruby Vaden had 14 points -- 12 in an early second-half flurry -- and 7 rebounds for Arkansas, but missed all nine of her free throw tries.

"Ruby made some nice catches and got herself in position to score," Gardner said. "But she's going to get fouled a lot, so we'll be doing extra work on free throws."

Rochelle Vaughn had a double-double for Arkansas with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and ran the team while Peoples sat out 16 minutes with foul trouble and head pain.

Sheree Thompson had 11 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists for Arkansas in perhaps her best game.

Vaughn shook off a bruised leg after taking a charge, and Pfeifer bent over a courtside garbage can with nausea after the game.

"We figured it would be physical," said Memphis coach Blair Savage. "Pfeifer and Vaden are physical players, and Danielle Allen also is at times."

Victoria Crawford led Memphis (5-2) with 24 points, while Raven Rogers contributed 6 points and 14 rebounds.

But Jennifer Sullivan, who had scored 18 points for the Lady Tigers in a loss to Vanderbilt, fouled out with just two points in seven minutes against Arkansas.

"I usually take Jen out after the first foul, but I gambled this time and got burned," Savage said.

Gardner said she called some plays for Vaden after the 6-foot-3 junior started the second half with a vengeance.

Vaden said, "I just came out with the mentality of scoring in the second half."

She called her free throw shooting "a mental thing."

Vaden said although the game was physical, Arkansas' earlier 55-51 loss to Purdue was even more physical.

The Lady Tigers had a chance to take the lead when trailing 53-51, but guard Tamika Butler missed a wild 3-point try.

"We didn't capitalize on our momentum," Savage said. "We didn't play smart."

Thompson and Pfeifer each made a layup to put Arkansas ahead 57-51, and Vaughn added two free throws for a 59-51 lead and some breathing room with 25.3 seconds left.

"I thought I was going to be able to sit down and enjoy the game in the second half," Gardner said. "Now I'm just glad to get on the bus and go up the road. This was a hard-fought game, and Memphis has great fans."

Gardner said Adrienne Bush played great defense for Arkansas, and Vaughn did a creditable job against Crawford while guarding her most of the game.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories