'Fife' Sounds Off

FAYETTEVILLE -- Sarah Pfeifer and Danielle Allen, the two 6-foot Arkansas sophomores who are sharing the power forward position, were smash hits at the Lady'Backs' luncheon at the Clarion Inn on Monday.

Pfeifer, known as "Fife" to her teammates, kept calling out things from her table after speaking to the group.

When it was mentioned that the undefeated Oregon Ducks will come to Bud Walton Arena to play Arkansas next Tuesday, Pfeifer said, "Maybe fans should bring duck calls. Or shotguns."

Pfeifer, an Ozark native who chews ice at meals, guffawed when a man from the audience said, "Sarah, at the last game you got a rebound with three opposing players around you and then you just scattered them!"

Allen, known as "D," is not thought of as a physical player like Pfeifer, but she has lost some body fat while gaining muscle mass in the last year.

"Danielle flexes in the mirror now," joked UA coach Susie Gardner.

Allen got even by revealing that the Lady'Backs call their coach "G-Unit," after the rapper.

Kidding aside, both Pfeifer and Allen play "every play, every day," Gardner said. "I'm working on a way to play them both at the same time."

Pfeifer has spent so much time in the training room, rehabilitating both shoulders, that she has inspired Gardner to go there.

"I go for back exercises," Gardner said. "I have to sit on a stool in timeouts now because I can't squat that long anymore. The training room is hard work, but Sarah just attacks conditioning."

Allen, of Harrison, said she was "embarrassed" by her play last season, when she fell so often that Gardner said, "Get Danielle some knee pads."

But now when opponents ask Allen, "You're a post player?" she responds with athleticism.

"I love to jump up there and catch lob passes," Allen said. "It's even better when my shot goes in. Kristin Moore and I connect really well, and Sheree Thompson throws good passes to anyone. K.P. (Kristin Peoples) gives me a little look when she's going to pass to me." ...

With two more wins, the Lady'Backs would equal their best-ever start of 9-1. Arkansas has won 39 of its last 40 home nonconference games. ...

During the Holiday Hoops Classic, the Lady'Backs practiced at the HPER Building while preparing for tonight's game in North Little Rock against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Gardner said Anna Petrakova, ULL's 6-foot-3 center from Moscow, Russia, will be the best post player Arkansas has seen this season.

Petrakova played on the Under-20 Russian National Team. ...

The Lady'Backs will stay overnight in Little Rock, then visit the Arkansas Children's Hospital on Friday morning.

Gardner said her team's academic goal this year is a 3.3 grade-point average.

"We'll only miss one day of class in the fall to travel, and then four in the spring," she said.

DeeDee Brown, a former UA track star, oversees the team's academics. She meets with some players once a week and e-mails others. In addition, each player meets with an assistant coach weekly. Gardner provides a third check.

"It's pretty extensive," Gardner said. "That way, the players are held accountable."

Pfeifer, a former valedictorian and current industrial engineering major, has helped Allen with a calculus class this semester. Otherwise, Allen makes straight A's, as do Peoples and April Seggebruch.

Amy Wright, who insisted she would never coach while playing point guard for Arkansas from 1998-2002, is now an assistant coach at South Florida. ...

Christina Lawrence, a 6-1 freshman from Sullivan, Mo., who came to Arkansas with hopes of playing both basketball and volleyball, has decided to stick with volleyball.

Lawrence redshirted in volleyball this season. In just one basketball appearance, she was 0 of 3 from the field with two turnovers in four minutes. ...

The Lady'Backs completed their final two exams Wednesday.

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