FAYETTEVILLE – Junior Ayanna Brereton scored a game high 16 points to lead the University of Arkansas’ entire starting lineup to double figures and a school record 15th consecutive win as the Lady Razorbacks downed Texas Tech at Bud Walton Arena on Saturday afternoon, 80-57.
The Arkansas win completes its 2007-08 non-conference season undefeated at 15-0 for the first time in school history while Texas Tech falls to 12-2. The Lady Razorback victory also proved that good defense beats good offense as Arkansas’ seventh-ranked field goal percentage defense held the 10th-ranked scoring offense to a season low 57 points.
“This was a great win for us,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “We didn’t go in anticipating that we could jump out on them. The difference is that we jumped out so hard early in the game, that was the key to me. In the second half we made some adjustments. Their zone bothered us a bit and I don’t know why. We had 10 turnovers in first half and just 3 in second. It was a great effort and it feels good to be 15-0. I never thought we would be here at this date undefeated.”
Arkansas wasted no time in establishing the tempo and direction of the game in the early going as it jumped out on Texas Tech to the tune of its second-best opener of the season. After trading opening buckets, the Lady Razorbacks went on an 11-0 run over the next three minutes. A Red Raider bucket broke up the Arkansas dominance, but another 8-0 stint made it a 21-4 game.
“You have to give Arkansas credit,” Texas Tech head coach Kristy Curry said. “They came out and threw a punch. I thought we had a chance to cut it to six, but our decision making has caused us some problems. We could have been down six, but instead were down 12 at the half. We could be negative, but need to use this as a learning tool.”
The two teams had not met since they were rivals in the Southwest Conference in 1991, and the win kept Arkansas perfect at home against Tech at 10-0. The 23-point margin was the largest victory for Arkansas over Tech in the 25-game series.
Spurring Arkansas on was its ability to hit baskets and run as it shot 67% and utilized the back-door play several times to get easy lay ups.
“I think that this was a pretty good statement,” Collen continued. “I think that most of the top programs are aware that Texas Tech is off to a great start. How great a win this is depends on what Tech does the rest of the year.”
Texas Tech weathered the storm and began to hit its shots just as the Arkansas offense slipped. The Lady Raiders were able to cut a 19-point deficit down to 10 and would end the opening 20 minutes of play with a 12-point deficit, 38-26.
“They went zone and that threw us for a loop for a minute,” senior Sarah Pfeifer said. “Coach told us that we knew we could run our zone offense better. We have confidence in coach and he has confidence in us.”
Getting a directive from the bench to run and push, Arkansas began the second half similar to the first. The tactic seemed to work and shortly after a Lady Razorback steal and layup by Brereton, Collen was jumping down the sideline inciting the season best crowd of 3,256 into a cheering frenzy.
After a pair of missed opportunities on both sides of the court, Arkansas made another run, 11-2, which gave it a 23-point lead with just over 10 minutes to play. The run was spurred by solid defense and active movement in the passing lanes of Texas Tech which allowed deflections and quick baskets.
Along with Brereton’s 16, Charity Ford (12), Brittany Vaughn (11), Whitney Jones (11), Lauren Ervin (11) and Sarah Pfeifer (10) each scored in double figures. Ervin and Jones made it a post sweep as each recorded double-doubles with Ervin grabbing 11 boards and Jones 10. No Texas Tech player scored in double digits and Dominic Seals led the Lady Raiders with nine points.
The Lady Razorbacks begin Southeastern Conference action with 11th-ranked LSU on Thursday evening at Bud Walton Arena. For more information about Lady Razorback basketball or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.