UA's Allen Has Best Idea Vs. LSU

FAYETTEVILLE -- Susie Gardner shared a "cute little story" to open her pre-LSU press conference on Tuesday.

Gardner's Lady Razorbacks (15-10, 3-9 in the Southeastern Conference) assume the giant-killer role against No. 1 LSU (25-1, 12-0) tonight in Bud Walton Arena.

"We were stretching in a circle before practice and I reminded our players that the game is on TV (Fox Sports Net, 7 p.m.) and they might want to get their hair redone," Gardner said.

"Then we talked about what gimmick we might use to get noticed on TV. Someone said we could wear our socks high, Allie Singleton said we could dye our hair red and someone else said we could wear our practice gear."

Then Danielle Allen had the best idea of all.

"She said, 'Win,'" Gardner related. "I wasn't even thinking along those lines when I brought it up. But yeah, that would get some national attention."

LSU has lost just once this year, 51-49 to Rutgers in overtime on the road.

The Tigers ran Arkansas out of Pete Maravich Assembly Center last month, 91-45, for their fifth straight win in a series they lead 16-9.

They may have the best point guard in the country, 5-foot-3 senior Temeka Johnson, and the best player in the country in 6-1 guard Seimone Augustus (20.1 points per game).

Sylvia Fowles, a 6-5 freshman center from Miami, Fla., who averages 12.5 points and 9.4 rebounds for LSU, doesn't even start.

And Gardner calls 6-1 junior forward Wendlyn Jones of Blytheville "the perfect player for LSU."

Jones averages 5.5 rebounds, second best on the Tigers.

"She's always around the ball," Gardner said.

So is Johnson, who averages 9.2 points and 7.0 assists while running the show with sass.

"LSU killed us in transition offense last time," Gardner said. "We couldn't even find much video of their half-court offense. It's hard to scout, because all they did was run on us. We'll have to stop the ball and not retreat."

Despite the carnage in Baton Rouge, Gardner downplayed any revenge angle.

"We're so different now," she said. "Ruby Vaden tore her ACL in the first half of that game, and that affects players and coaches. I think revenge comes more from a controversial call at the end, or some freak buzzer-beating shot, but we haven't had that scenario."

Gardner added, "I'm not much on revenge. We just want to play better."

Arkansas did play better in the second half against Tennessee on Sunday, outscoring the No. 5 Lady Vols 49-45 in the final 20 minutes while losing the game 84-71.

Tennessee guard Shanna Zolman admitted surprise at the UA comeback, but UT coach Pat Summitt said, "Generally a team takes on the personality of the head coach and in this case you see that (with Arkansas)."

The Lady'Backs have some scrappers, like guards Kristin Peoples and Adrienne Bush and forwards Sarah Pfeifer and Allen, but they're undersized.

Auburn has played LSU to within five points twice, but that's partly because Auburn has 6-5 Marita Payne to counteract Fowles, whom Gardner called "one of the best freshmen in the country."

Gardner said Payne can also take away Augustus' patented mid-range jump shot.

"We're not like Auburn in that sense," Gardner said.

But the Lady'Backs did play Auburn even for 36 minutes on a cold-shooting night before losing 62-51, in a game that presaged a two-game UA winning streak.

Auburn coach Nell Fortner, despite her team's tough play against LSU, warned, "LSU can run you out of your own gym if you're not careful."




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