BATON ROUGE, La. – Senior Sarah Pfeifer led the way with 15 for the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team, but the Senior Night belonged to sixth-ranked LSU as the Tigers won, 83-46, Thursday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Arkansas, 17-11, drops to 2-11 in Southeastern Conference play while the LSU Tigers, 24-4, clinched a share of the league title at 13-0.
“Congratulations to LSU,” UA head coach Tom Collen said. “People outside of Louisiana don’t give them the credit they sometimes deserve. They have a dynasty similar to UConn or Tennessee.”
Along with Pfeifer, Arkansas got double digits from junior Ayana Brereton with 14.
“It’s tough, and right now they are clearly the dominant team in the league,” Collen said. “You’ve got to come in here and put it all together. I was clearly disappointed with the way we started the game, but you have to give them credit. They might be the best team in the country.”
The loss locks Arkansas into the 11th seed for next week’s SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament in Nashville. The win puts LSU in the No. 1 seed regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s final regular season games.
The Lady’Backs play in the fourth game of the opening day at the Sommet Center against the sixth seed. Tipoff is 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 6. The Tigers receive a bye on the first day, and await the winner of the 8-9 game.
Arkansas faces either Auburn or Ole Miss in its first game at Nashville, with the winner facing the third seed on next Friday night, likely the Vanderbilt Commodores.
One of the eight senior players honored by LSU, Quianna Chaney, led all scorers with 20 points for the Tigers. Sylvia Fowles added 11 points for LSU.
LSU jumped on Arkansas to begin each half, roaring out to a 25-3 start in the second half to take a 47-point lead, 67-20, just five minutes into the period.
“Up until this game, we had battle people to the last minute,” Collen said. “We clearly weren’t focused. The last thing we told the team was don’t let Chaney hit the open three-pointer. I called two time outs early to try and stop it and each time she still came out of the time out and hit a three.”
Chaney led LSU to an electric start in the first half by sinking her first five three-point shots to lead the Tigers to a 25-4 lead after the first seven minutes of the game.
Arkansas’ only counter was Pfeifer who had eight of the team’s 17 first-half points.
The Tigers led by as many as 30 in the opening half behind a punishing defensive effort that forced 10 turnovers out of the Lady’Backs to start the game. Meanwhile, LSU had 14 assists against a single turnover to lead 47-17 at halftime.
LSU played the first 34 minutes of the game with a single turnovers while forcing over 20 from the Lady’Backs. The Tigers finished the game with only three turnovers to 24 for Arkansas.
“They take care of the ball better than any other team in the country, and that’s why they have a great chance to go back to a fifth Final Four,” Collen said.
The Lady’Backs continue on the road to finish the regular season. Arkansas is at Auburn on Sunday, March 2, at 2 p.m..