Arkansas Jumps To Big Lead, Holds On

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas guard Sheree Thompson forestalled a 3-point shot attempt by Oregon forward Kristen Forristall just before the final buzzer, preserving a 65-62 Lady Razorbacks' win over the Ducks before 2,501 fans in Bud Walton Arena on Tuesday night.

The Lady'Backs (9-1) led 31-15 after their best first half of the season and pushed their advantage to 45-28 before Oregon mounted a furious comeback that pulled the Ducks within 63-62 with 33 seconds left.

Sarah Pfeifer's free throw pushed Arkansas' lead to 64-62 with 28.8 ticks left, but Forristall rebounded a missed 3-pointer by teammate Cathrine Kraayeveld on the other end.

Danielle Allen then made the last of Arkansas' 13 steals, setting up a Rochelle Vaughn free throw for a 65-62 UA edge with 12.5 seconds left.

Thompson told UA coach Susie Gardner she got "all ball" while blocking Forristall's attempted 3-pointer at the end, and both Vaughn and Arkansas guard Kristin Peoples agreed.

Oregon (7-2) committed a season-high 26 turnovers -- five more than it had in a 73-58 loss to No. 10 Ohio State on Saturday night.

Kraayeveld scored 15 of her game-high 20 points in the second half, but missed five of her eight 3-point tries, including the one that might have meant victory.

"I'm so proud of these guys," Gardner said. "Oregon had a shot, but we're finding ways to win. We made some big stops and got after the loose balls."

Peoples, who made 10-of-12 free throws, said the Lady'Backs are winning the types of close games they lost last season during a 16-12 campaign.

"That was our weakness last year -- we lost about seven close games," Peoples said.

This season, Arkansas is 4-1 in games decided by six or fewer points.

"I think our club has a tremendous amount of fighters," Vaughn said. "We hate to lose, and we're going to figure out a way to win."

Oregon used its superior size to chip away at an Arkansas lead forged partly by 10 first-half steals.

Peoples pointed out, "They never scored against our 2-2-1 half-court trap."

But the Ducks adjusted at halftime, as Gardner knew they would.

"I told our team that Oregon was getting ready to go to (6-foot-4) Kraayeveld a lot," Gardner said. "But she still got three wide-open 3s."

Freshman guard Kaela Chapdelaine chipped in 10 points for the Ducks.

Arkansas countered with a team-high 12 points off the bench by 6-3 Ruby Vaden, 11 by Vaughn, 10 by Peoples, and 9 each by Pfeifer and Thompson.

The smaller Lady'Backs finished with a 40-35 rebounding advantage, with Vaden's seven leading the way.

A key moment came when Gardner called a 30-second timeout with her team leading 57-54 with 2:05 left and 12 seconds left on the shot clock.

Vaughn hit a 12-foot jumper to make it 59-54, and later added a timely steal with Arkansas up 62-58.

"We were trying to get Sarah open on that play, but it didn't work so I made the shot," Vaughn said.

Peoples, who made her first seven free throws, wanted the ball at the end in a game that had 47 fouls, but she said, "Oregon did a good gob of denying me the ball at times."

It didn't bother Gardner much that Arkansas shot just 32.3 percent from the field.

"Pretty or not, success brings confidence," she said.

Arkansas now rests until its Dec. 30 Southeastern Conference opener at No. 15 Georgia (8-3).

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