Lady'Backs Find Shooting Touch

FAYETTEVILLE -- Basketball is a funny game sometimes.

One night you can't find the inside of the rim to save your life. The next time out, you're hotter than a steaming bowl of five-alarm chili.

Ask the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks.

Last week, the Lady'Backs suffered their worst day of the season at the firing range, shooting just 23.6 percent from the field in a 62-51 loss at Auburn.

Thursday was the complete opposite.

Five minutes and six seconds into their game against Alabama, the Lady'Backs were still looking for their first miss.

That's right. Arkansas started the game 7 of 7 from the field, ended the half shooting 61.5 percent from the floor and finished the night with one of its best shooting displays of the season, nailing 47.5 percent overall in an 83-68 win against the Crimson Tide in front of a crowd of 2,648 in Bud Walton Arena.

"We did spend three days working on it (shooting)," said Arkansas coach Susie Gardner. "Part of it, hopefully, was trying to build some focus and work on some concentration. But it makes you look pretty good when it works."

After the woeful shooting performance at Auburn -- the second game in a row the Lady'Backs had shot under 30 percent -- Gardner made sure her team worked almost exclusively on putting the ball in the basket during practices leading up to Thursday's game.

In this case, practice makes perfect.

Or almost perfect.

"I really think that the practice paid off," said Arkansas sophomore Sarah Pfeifer, who hit 8 of 11 shots and tied a career high with 21 points. "We spent six hours on shooting, nonstop. And if you don't get better after that, you need to go somewhere else."

Using their red-hot start, the Lady'Backs (14-8, 3-7) built an 18-8 lead before finally missing a shot.

By then, the tone was set.

Arkansas was on fire, and Alabama (13-9, 4-5) could do almost nothing to stop it.

"I just really believe Arkansas came out and threw the first four or five punches," said Alabama coach Rick Moody. "They were just really clicking on both sides.

"Their shooting percentage in the first half was a combination of them making plays and us not getting it done defensively."

Up until 1:31 left in the game, the Lady'Backs had shot more than 50 percent for the entire contest, not to mention a 19 of 22 effort from the free throw line. Only a flurry of late misses in the closing minute dropped Arkansas' percentage down to 47.5 percent, still good enough for the third-best shooting performance of the season.

This from a team last in the Southeastern Conference in both field goal percentage and free throw percentage.

"I remember in the first half, I looked at my staff and said we haven't missed a shot yet, have we," Gardner said. "It was fun to be out there tonight. To see them being successful and it looked like they were having a good time. For them to have their hard work pay off, that's always a fear. You work on something and work on something and say, man I hope this pays off. That was very exciting."

Yes, basketball is a funny game sometimes.

Ask the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories