Payne Holds Block Party

AUBURN, Ala. -- How do you say "block party" in Australian?

Marita Payne, a 6-foot-5 Auburn junior from Melbourne, Australia, tied for the third-most single-game blocks in NCAA women's basketball history with her 13 against Arkansas on Thursday night.

Payne now has a nation-leading 106 blocks this season -- nine more than Sandora Irvin of TCU -- and wants to break the Southeastern Conference record of 131 set by Heidi Gillingham of Vanderbilt in 1991.

"Marita was kinda gutsy tonight, getting a lot of blocks with four fouls," said Auburn's Natasha Brackett.

But Auburn coach Nell Fortner said she wasn't worried.

"Marita towered above the Arkansas players," Fortner said. "She could judge the ball very well. I'm proud of her accomplishment."

Arkansas coach Susie Gardner knew Payne had blocked eight shots against LSU in her previous game.

"She was a huge difference tonight," Gardner said.

Previously, Arkansas had not had more than three shots blocked in a game this season.

Brackett, limited to eight points by a good Arkansas team defensive effort, now has 1,529 career points -- 54 from assuming the No. 6 spot on the Auburn career scoring list.

"It wasn't pretty, but it was a win," Fortner said. "There are no style points in basketball."

RPI UPDATE
Auburn entered Thursday's game ranked 52nd in the WBCA/Summerville index, with a No. 12 strength of schedule. Arkansas was 57th, with the 70th toughest schedule...

"I know it sounds crazy to say you can gain confidence from a loss, but when you play in front of 14,000 at LSU and have an opportunity to win, that is a positive thing for our team," Fortner said after Auburn's 57-52 loss to No. 1 LSU...Auburn now leads Arkansas 12-7 in their series...

UA center Ruby Vaden underwent successful knee ligament surgery on Thursday...

Arkansas walk-on Allison Singleton did not make the trip to Auburn because she had the flu.

OOPS
Included in the pregame music piped into Beard-Eaves Coliseum was a hyphenated, 13-letter adjective that shocked fans who heard it...

For the first time since entering SEC competition in 1992, the Lady'Backs have Super Bowl Sunday off...

Arkansas made just 17 of 72 floor shots. The last time a team shot that many times against Auburn was Jan. 1, 2001, when Georgia launched 73 shots.

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