FAYETTEVILLE – Junior Sarah Pfeifer came off the bench for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorbacks basketball team to score 13 points, but it was a Kristin Peoples three with 42.3 seconds on the clock that put Arkansas in the driver’s seat of a 53-50 win over Indiana University on Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
The win improves the Lady Razorbacks to 5-1 on the season while Indiana falls to 2-2.
Following an ugly close to the first half of play by the Lady Razorbacks, they came out in the second with high intensity defense that kept the Hoosiers’ out of synch. The defensive pressure allowed the Lady’Backs to score the first three points of the period to cut into the Indiana halftime lead. A pair of Hoosier free throws gave Indiana its first points of the second half at 15:17, but poor shooting from both sides kept the game close as the two squads combined to miss the periods first 13 shots.
“I told them at halftime that I would start the five that were playing hardest in the first half,” Arkansas head coach Susie Gardner said. “At first it seemed that we were rushing things and we need to keep that adrenaline down and play relaxed.”
“Arkansas is a very well balanced team and run a very nice high-low system,” Indiana head coach Kathi Bennett said. “Their post players are extremely poised. The Arkansas pressure will wear on you especially when they press the base line because it takes the legs out of your shot.”
The shooting for both sides picked up midway through the half and as the largest crowd in Bud Walton Arena this season began to get louder, Arkansas started a comeback. Down by just three, Peoples picked the pocket of the Hoosier’s point guard and converted it for an easy layup to put Arkansas down by just one. Indiana turnovers on the next two possessions gave the Lady Razorbacks a chance to take their first lead since the end of the opening half, but missed shots kept Arkansas behind. A third Hoosier turnover gave the Lady Razorbacks another chance which allowed Peoples to knock in a free throw to knot the match at 43 with 5:30 to go.
Danielle Allen gave Arkansas the lead with two-minutes to play on a two foot jumper in the lane, then a defensive stop by the Lady’Backs had the pro-Arkansas crowd at a roar. Indiana quieted the crowd with a game-tying bucket on its next possession which took the clock under a minute. Less than 20 seconds later, Peoples took a feed from the post on the right side and buried a three to put Arkansas up 50-47. Allen drew a charge on Indiana’s next possession under the Arkansas basket to force the Hoosier’s to foul on the inbound.
“I was thinking that she had been playing off me all day and that if I took a jab step she would bite,” Peoples said of the shot. “She did, and I let it go.”
“Down the stretch Peoples hit that three and Danielle (Allen) took that huge charge,” Gardner said. “We had been talking about charges and that was the perfect time to take it.”
The Lady Razorbacks got off to a good start by scoring the first five points of the contest before the Hoosier’s LeeAnn Stephenson broke Indiana’s goose egg with a long three pointer at 16:46. Arkansas’ lead could have been larger had they made more than two of their first five shots, but three Indiana turnovers allowed Arkansas to take the early edge. For Arkansas it was all Rochelle Vaughn prior to the first media timeout as she hit for eight of Arkansas’ first 10 points.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Friday evening when they take on the Wichita State Shockers at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville beginning at 7:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback basketball or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com