FAYETTEVILLE – For the first time in school history, the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team is ranked No. 1 in the nation for a defensive statistical category according to the NCAA’s first Division I statistical report. Issued last week while the Lady’Backs (7-1) took time out from basketball for the fall semester exams, the NCAA put Arkansas at No. 1 in steals per game with 20.4 per game. Ironically, another sister institution in the UA system was ranked second as Arkansas-Pine Bluff was next with 18.3 steals. Individually, sophomore Kristin Peoples ranked 15th in the country with 3.9 steals per game followed by teammate junior Rochelle Vaughn at 31st. Arkansas has reached No. 1 in the NCAA stats in two offensive categories. The Lady’Backs had the No. 1 field goal percentage in the country during and at the end of the 1990-91 season. Christy Smith led the nation in free throw percentage most of her freshman season and ended the year No. 1 for individuals. Arkansas’ defense has led the Southeastern Conference stats since play began this season in both steals and turnover margin; however, last week marked the first week for the national NCAA figures. While Arkansas played one game last week and saw its overall average drop to 19.1 steals, the Lady’Backs may continue as the top team in the nation when the next statistical report is issued late Tuesday afternoon. Only three other teams in the Division I top 30 for steals per game had over 100 steals – regardless of number of games played – while the Lady’Backs have 153 steals in their first eight games. UAPB’s 18.3 steals was for 73 steals in four games to rank second, followed by Cal Poly and Alcorn State with 17.0 per game. Top 25 teams DePaul and Vanderbilt tied for fifth in the ranking with 96 steals in six games for identical 16.0 steal per game averages. The Lady Razorbacks return to the court on Thursday with their annual central Arkansas game, this season at ALLTEL Arena in North Little Rock against Louisiana-Lafayette at 7 p.m.