LSU Defense Swarms Arkansas Again

FAYETTEVILLE — Many of the names on the backs of the jerseys might have been different. But the LSU defense was still very much the same.

Known for a lockdown style which can suffocate opposing offenses at any giving moment, the Tigers stuck to their trademark against Arkansas on Thursday. And in front of an announced crowd of 1,165, LSU showed no dropoff in shutting down the Razorbacks 62-42 on Thursday night in Bud Walton Arena.

"I think it was a combination of two things," Arkansas coach Tom Collen said. "I think we missed some shots early, so we got a little bit tentative on offense. They certainly made some adjustments on us, but the bottom line was we just didn't attack them very hard. You just can't sit back against a team like that and not attack them. And I just didn't think did a very good job of that."

The Razorbacks (11-5, 0-1) made enough shots in the first half to keep things very interesting. Thanks to its own defensive efforts, Arkansas was within 25-24 at the halftime break. But following intermission, LSU quickly broke the game open.

A 12-0 run turned a 29-29 tie into a 41-29 Tigers lead as freshman LaSondra Barrett led the way — scoring eight of her game-high 27 points during the spurt.

On the other end, Arkansas went cold against the Tigers, missing all 11 3-point attempts in the second half while suffering through several dry spells which eventually spelled doom.

"I think coming out in the second half we just weren't as focused as we were in the first half," sophomore point guard Shanita Arnold said. "That just led to silly turnovers and not getting back, and that hurts against a team like LSU. Which is a team that is not as strong as they were last year, but they're a capable team of beating you."

LSU (7-5, 1-0) — which lost four starters off of last season's fifth consecutive Final Four team — was allowing just 52 points per game entering Thursday's contest. Against the Razorbacks they looked every bit that good on defense, holding Arkansas to a season low in points and shooting percentage.

"Usually young players don't grasp defense until they're about juniors. Sophomores at the earliest," LSU coach Van Chancellor said "But our team has bought into what we're doing defensively and they've really done a great job of playing better than we ever dreamed defensively."

Arnold scored 10 points for Arkansas and Whitney Jones added eight. But on this night against the Tigers, it was more about the lack of offense that bothered the Razorbacks the most.

"It was frustrating," Collen said. "I think once it got away from us I feel like we hung our heads, and that comes back on me as a coach. That's very frustrating for me as a coach and that's something I've got to get corrected. It won't do me any good to get prepared for Kentucky or any other team on our schedule if I don't get their heads straight before practice. So that's going to be the biggest challenge for me."

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