Lady'Backs Hope Togetherness Counts Vs. Ole Miss

FAYETTEVILLE -- Now that the Arkansas women's basketball team is down to 11 healthy players, coach Susie Gardner senses more of a team-first attitude.

Left for dead after a 91-45 loss at LSU 10 days ago, the Lady Razorbacks instead have won two games in a row and hope to make it three against Ole Miss at 2 p.m. today in Bud Walton Arena.

Arkansas (13-6, 2-5 in the Southeastern Conference) lost three weeks ago to Ole Miss, 85-73, at Oxford, Miss.

The formidable Lady Rebels are 14-5 and 4-2 in the SEC, with a three-game conference winning streak intact.

But Gardner seemed to relish the chance to challenge Ole Miss again.

"I like playing an opponent twice," Gardner said. "I like the setup. I'm accustomed to that. Coaches who enjoy the Xs and Os aspect get a chance to correct things."

In Arkansas' case, the biggest correction involves a 20-rebound deficit (58-38) against Ole Miss last time.

"We've got to offensive-rebound better, and limit their transition baskets," Gardner said. "Ole Miss likes to get out and run."

Armintie Price, a 5-foot-9 sophomore guard, averages 15.7 points and 10 rebounds for Ole Miss, and has twice snared 17 rebounds against Arkansas.

"She's averaging a double-double, for heaven's sake!" Gardner said. "Price really lit our conference up as a freshman. She found a niche and perfected it."

Arkansas, on the other hand, could be limited at guard, as 5-7 sophomore Kristin Peoples has seemed worn down recently and missed Friday's practice with strep throat symptoms.

"Kristin has seemed more tired than normal," Gardner said. "She's been playing so hard that she gets tired quickly. But she should be fine for Sunday."

Gardner said the Lady'Backs could have "fallen apart" after the loss to LSU, but instead she said, "I've sensed more togetherness than at any time since I've been here. For awhile there, we were kind of at each other's throats, with a negative vibe in the gym. Now there's not a whole lot of second-guessing about people's roles."

UA starting forwards Sarah Pfeifer and Danielle Allen and reserve Kristina Andjelkovic know they must slow down 6-3 Ole Miss center Amber Watts, who scored 21 points against them last time.

Arkansas guards Peoples, Rochelle Vaughn and Adrienne Bush, besides trying to slow Price and contain Rebs point guard Carletta Brown, now must also spy 5-8 senior Elizabeth Cansdale of Boulder City, Nev., who is coming off a career game in a 72-64 win over Mississippi State.

The Lady'Backs are fresh from a 69-46 win on Tuesday over Missouri-Kansas City, in which they made 12 3-point shots in a school-record 32 attempts.

But Arkansas ranks 11th or 12th in eight team categories in SEC play, including 3-point field goals made (4.43 per game), 3-point percentage (.258) and rebound margin (minus 9.0).

So the Lady'Backs will need all the togetherness they can muster.

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