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."

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...

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