FAYETTEVILLE — Junior Lauren Ervin scored 17 points, pulled down 16 rebounds and added eight blocks to lead the 23rd-ranked University of Arkansas Lady Razorback basketball team to a 94-82 win at Bud Walton Arena on Thursday evening.
With the win, Arkansas sets a school record for best start to a season at 14-1. Cincinnati falls to 9-3 on the year.
“It’s not something that we had on the bullitan board before the start of the season, but I’m very happy for our team to have the record,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “They have worked hard, and we’ve been a team that seemed to make a big stop when we needed it or make a big shot when we had to have it. Tonight was one of those kind of nights.”
The game started with both teams hot from the floor. The Lady Razorbacks made nine of their first 10 shots, including 4-4 from three-point land while Cincinnati buried 5-9 from the field and 2-2 from behind the arc. Arkansas’ shooting advantage allowed it to build a 10-point lead in the early going. More impressive was both teams’ ability to hit the deep shot as the teams combined to hit the game’s first six three-point shots with Cincinnati finally missing the first of the game at the 13:15 mark. Arkansas was nearly automatic from downtown as it drained its first six three-pointers and didn’t miss one from behind the 20-foot mark until 7:57.
“When the first one went in, we felt like it was going to be our game,” Dominique Washington said.
The Lady Razorbacks stayed ahead of the Bearcats who dropped from 50% to 30 at the end of the half. For Arkansas it was the two-pronged attack of Washington and Donica Crosby who pummeled Cincinnati for 13 points a piece. The Lady Razorbacks’ stingy defense and strong shooting allowed it to build a 14 point lead at the half, 42-28.
“Our guards started the game off smokin’,” Ervin said.
A strong push by Cincinnati to start the second half took the Arkansas lead to just four points at the 14-minute mark, but a lay up by Washington and an old-fashioned three-point play by Brittney Vaughn had the lead back at seven. As the clock ticked under 10 minutes, Cincinnati once again came within four, but Arkansas denied the Bearcats from coming any closer thanks to a charge taken by Sarah Pfeifer under the basket.
The defensive play by Pfeifer led to a 19-12 Lady Razorback run that allowed them to match their biggest lead of the contest at 14 with 2:50 to play. The Bearcats would hit a three on their next possession to cut into the lead and follow that shot up with a pair of scores to move the Arkansas edge down to eight at 1:26. Arkansas would end the run there and rebuild the lead to 12. Cincinnati would not get within seven from that point.
Cosby led Arkansas in scoring with 23 points followed by Washington’s 19, Ervin’s 17 and Vaughn’s 11. Ervin grabbed a game high 16 rebounds and her eight blocks are a Bud Walton Arena record and one off the Lady Razorback school mark. For Cincinnati it was Treasure Humphries that would lead all scorers with 25 points. She was one of five Bearcats in double digits along with Karen Twehues (18) and Michelle Jones, Shelly Bellman and Carla Jacobs with 10 each.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Saturday, Dec. 30 against the University of St. Louis at 4:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback basketball or about Arkansas women’s athletics, visit LADYBACKS.COM.