Lady'Backs Blow Past Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Arkansas coach Susie Gardner doesn't like to acknowledge it, but she can't help but hold back the excitement.

The No. 24 Lady Razorbacks moved within one game of matching their best start in school history with a 70-54 road victory over the Memphis in front of 949 at the Elma Roane Field House on Monday night. Arkansas guard Charity Ford led all scorers and posted a career-high 15 points, and the Lady'Backs (12-1) are now one win away from equaling the 1995-96 squad that began the season 13-1. Arkansas will have a chance to tie the record when it hosts Stephen F. Austin in Hot Springs' Summit Arena on Wednesday. "It feels awesome," Gardner said of her team's red-hot start. "The mood and the excitement of the players is fun to be around. It's really fun to wear your travel sweats with the Hog on the left chest, have someone ask how we're doing and be able to say 12-1 or whatever it is." But the victory didn't come without a price. Arkansas guard Brittney Vaughn, the reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Week, went down late in the first half with a hip injury. She had to be escorted off the court, but entered the game soon after. Less than two minutes later, she went down again and didn't return for the rest of the game. Team trainer Jeremy Braziel said Vaughn would likely be a game-time decision Wednesday. "I won't lie — when I heard Brittney was out for the game, my heart skipped a beat," Gardner said. "But Charity Ford and Dominique Washington really took hold of the game for us." Along with Ford's career-high performance, Washington went 4-for-7 from 3-point range and finished with 12 points. The duo paced Arkansas' frenetic defense, putting pressure on a youthful Memphis squad and forcing the Lady Tigers into bad decisions that resulted in turnovers. Even with Vaughn out, Arkansas' win was more than convincing. Arkansas led 34-26 at the half and put its lead at double-digits for good when Washington drilled a 3-pointer to give the Lady'Backs a 42-31 advantage. Memphis (3-9) never mounted a respectable comeback. The Lady Tigers were shot just 25 percent from the field and an even more dismal 18.2 percent from beyond the arc while Arkansas continued to pour on the defensive pressure. "In the second half, our youth showed," said Memphis coach Blair Savage, a former Lady'Back. "Arkansas played really good defensively and they were all over us." At A Glance BEYOND THE BOX SCORE Why The Lady'Backs Won Arkansas' defense was smothering, forcing Memphis to take bad shots, turn the ball over and play at a faster pace than it could handle. At one point late in the first half, Memphis attempted to mimic Arkansas' full-court press, but the Lady'Backs drew fouls, went to the free-throw line and slowly increased their lead. Why The Lady Tigers Lost Memphis couldn't shoot. Memphis was 4-of-22 (18.2 percent) from 3-point range and it could never get out of the slump. Crucial Moments • Less than five minutes into the game, Memphis had to call its first timeout. The Lady Tigers were already down 7-0, had missed all three of their shots and Arkansas' defense had already forced five turnovers. • With 3:15 left before halftime and Memphis attempting a full-court press, Arkansas coach Susie Gardner called timeout and instructed her team to start pressing as well. The Lady'Backs' pressured the Lady Tigers out of their own press, and Arkansas built a 34-26 lead at the break. • Early in the second half, Dominique Washington sank one of her four 3-pointers to give Arkansas a 42-31 lead. After that point, the Lady'Backs' lead never sank below double-digits.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories