Arkansas' aggressive and physical style of play disrupted the Commodores throughout the game, as the Lady Backs forced 23 turnovers and held the Commodores to 43.9% shooting from the field.
Arkansas jumped out to an early 9-2 lead as the Commodores turned the ball over 3 times in the first 3 minutes of play. But then the Commodores settled down and eventually claimed their first lead of the game at 14-13 on a basket by Chantelle Anderson with 12:07 left in the half. The remainder of the half was nip-and-tuck, with four ties and three lead changes. At the end of the half, Arkansas was on top 32-30.
For the first few minute of the second half, the struggle to gain the upper hand continued. Arkansas took the lead for good at 36-35 with 16:46 left in the half and continued to build the lead until it reached 10 points at 54-44 with 9:08 remainining in the half. But Vanderbilt countered with an 11-2 run to cut the lead to one point at 56-55 on a pair of made free throws by Ashley McElhiney with 3:22 remaining.
But then, from a Vanderbilt point of view, it was all downhill from there. A couple of costly turnovers helped Arkansas cushion their lead, and with 1:39 left in the game and the score 61-55, Zuzi Klimesova picked up her fifth foul. From there on, Vanderbilt sent Arkansas repeatedly to the line, where the Lady Backs sank seven out of ten free throws down the stretch to seal the 67-57 victory.
The Commodores were led in scoring by Chantelle Anderson with 22 points, followed by Ashley McElhiney with 12. Anderson was also leading rebounder with 12 for her 4 fourth double-double of the season. Zuzi Klimesova added 6 rebounds, and Jenni Benningfield had 5.
Four Lady Razorbacks scored in double figures, led by Shameka Christon with 21, followed by Dana Cherry with 18, and Amy Wright and India Lewis with 10 each. Kiesha Beard was leading rebounder with 8, followed by Christon with 10.
For the game, Vanderbilt shot 43.9% from the field, compared to 36.6% for Arkansas. The Commodores out-rebounded the Lady Backs 39-34, but Arkansas forced 23 Commodore turnovers, while committing only 7 themselves.
With the loss, Vanderbilt falls to 19-5 overall and 5-3 in the SEC, while Arkansas improves to 12-8 overall, and 3-5 in the SEC. Vanderbilt returns home on Saturday to host the Tennessee Lady Vols in a sold-out, nationally televised game at 6:30 CT.
The Press: What were they doing defensively to disrupt your team?
Coach Foster: They're very physical, and we didn't react very well to it. I thought Chantelle did a better job.
The Press: Down the stretch, did the turnovers hurt?
Caoch Foster: Obviously, turning the ball over as often as we did doesn't help. Some of them were not very intelligent plays. And I don't think we kept our heads versus their aggressiveness.
The Press: Ashley, can you speak to their aggressiveness on defense?
Ashley McElhiney: They took us out of our game, I guess, but partly we lost our heads. Twenty-three or twenty-four turnovers in a game, you are not going to win many turning the ball over that many times. It gives them that many more chances to score. I think they capitalized on several of them.
The Press: Chantelle, did they just kind of throw everybody at you?
Chantelle Anderson: I think there were several people on me. I wouldn't say that was the difference in the game. I would say that the difference in the game is that we have to have people who want the ball. We can't put it all on Mac's shoulders to handle the ball as much as she did. I think that's where a lot of our turnovers came from. Yeah, they had a lot of people in the post, but I don't think that was what affected us or determined the outcome of the game.
The Press: You have three losses in a row to Arkansas. Do they just have your number?
Coach Foster: We don't step up to their aggressiveness. They are very, very aggressive basketball team. You have to meet aggressiveness with aggressiveness. They want the game to be a fight. We want it to be pretty.
The Press: Chantelle, do you feel like this game and the Florida game are similar? Are they indications of a trend?
Chantelle: I think they were similar in the fact that it seemed like no one wanted to step up and get the ball and take shots and things like that. I hope it's not a trend. I sure hope it's not.
The Press: How would you rate the effort of the team?
Coach Foster: We out-rebounded them. That's effort. Did we play hard? Yeah, we played hard. Did we play smart? No. Did we step up and match their aggressiveness? No. They were physical. We wanted to be finesse.
Womens's Hoops: Arkansas 67 Vanderbilt 57
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