Cat Attack

FAYETTEVILLE -- The good news for the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks after Thursday's 93-59 loss against No. 3 LSU is at least that one's done.

The bad news for the Lady'Backs is that they still have to play the Lady Tigers again.

While Arkansas had a good idea of just how good LSU was, the Lady Tigers were even better than suspected up close and in person in front of 2,718 in Bud Walton Arena on Thursday, using a 15-0 run to end the first half to build a 47-23 halftime lead in a game that was just as lopsided as the score indicated.

"They (LSU) are awfully good, aren't they?" said Arkansas coach Susie Gardner. "But it's not like we hadn't seen Seimone (Augustus) and Sylvia (Fowles) before. They're just great talents.

"Most teams in the country don't have an answer for that. We tried sagging (Melissa) Hobbs off their four (spot) players and tried double-down and then their four players score 17 and 14. And one of them is averaging just four points a game. Then Seimone can score at will. They're just a tremendous talent."

Arkansas (13-8, 5-3) found out just how talented LSU was the hard way. Whenever the reigning national player of the year, Augustus, looked to be contained, all the Lady Tigers had to do was dump the ball inside to the 6-foot-6 sophomore sensation Fowles, who ruled the paint all night with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

"She (Fowles) is unbelievable," said Arkansas junior guard Leslie Howard, who scored a team-high 17 points Thursday. "She's got hands, she can stretch, she can shoot. She's just a great player."

Gardner went even one step further about the Lady Tigers' dominant inside threat.

"She is, in my opinion, one of the best players ever to play the game," Gardner said. "And I played with Katrina McClain (at Georgia) who was player of the year.

"But Sylvia is like a new breed. She is the future of women's basketball."

While Fowles certainly impressed, Arkansas still had to worry about Augustus, who added 19 points and five assists.

Then there were those pesky four-spot players -- Ashley Thomas and Florence Williams -- who weren't supposed to be a problem but still managed a combined 31 points and 14 rebounds.

"LSU is a great team," Howard said. "You go down and look at their scoring and then they've got Thomas score 17 and she was only averaging four a game.

"They're just solid at every position."

And nearly every position was solid enough Thursday to impress LSU coach Pokey Chatman.

"As a coach, you always want more," Chatman said. "But considering the circumstances, playing on the road at Arkansas where they've been very tough to beat, I'd say I was as pleased as I could be with the first half."

Arkansas' only glimmer of sunshine on this otherwise dark night came early in the second half. Already behind by 24 points, the Lady'Backs did pull off a brief run against the Lady Tigers (19-1, 7-0) to pull within 15 points.

Too little, too late, though as LSU would beef its lead up to as much as 36 points in the second half, finishing 58 percent from the field for the game while netting a whopping 58 points in the lane compared to Arkansas' meager 18.

"(Coach Gardner) just told us to keep our heads up," said Arkansas forward Melissa Hobbs. "She just told us we played one of the best teams there is and to just keep our heads up."

The Lady'Backs don't get much of a break after this one, visiting No. 5 Tennessee at 2 p.m. Sunday.

LSU is back at home Sunday to play host to Ole Miss.

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