JONESBORO – Sophomore Sarah Pfeifer scored a career high 26 points, but it was not enough to overcome untimely turnovers by Arkansas as the Lady Razorbacks lost 98-84 to Arkansas State in the second round of the Sportsview.tv Women’s NIT.
ASU, 21-10, faces Iowa, who defeated Nebraska, 71-67, in Iowa City.
Arkansas, 17-14, closed the season with three career high scoring performances, but an inconsistent defensive effort.
“I never thought we would lose this game, not when we watched the tape, not when we got down in the second half, we kept believing we would come back,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “ASU did a good job, but we didn’t play defense like we usually do. It was disappointing.”
The Lady Indians advanced, but they did so against the full force of a Lady Razorback flurry at the end of the game.
Trailing by 13, the Lady’Backs forced turnovers to trim the lead back to single digits, but ran out of time for a comeback.
“I played as hard as I could, but we know that collectively we didn’t come to play,” Pfeifer said.
While the partisan crowd of 10,892 expected the Lady’Backs to fold, Pfeifer had different plans.
The sophomore matched ASU point-for-point down the stretch, and brought Arkansas back under a 10-point deficit with a turnaround jumper with 6:23. Completing the three-point play for a new career high, 71-64.
ASU responded to match Pfeifer as Rudy Sims hit a crucial three-pointer with 4:50 left to regain the double-digit lead.
It was one of two three-pointers by Sims that proved momentum busting for Arkansas as Sims had a key three-pointer in the first half to prevent Arkansas from taking the lead.
Arkansas found its game turned against itself as the Lady Indians forced 16 turnovers in the opening half, converting those into 14 points.
Despite outshooting ASU with 42.9% from the field, Arkansas was only able to trim the Lady Indian lead to two, 27-25, in the late first half off a putback jumper from Rochelle Vaughn.
Before the Lady’Backs could tie the game, an Arkansas turnover led to a Rudy Sims three-pointer with 4:27 that launched a 7-0 run by ASU that reestablished the Lady Indians’ control of the game.
Hobbs scored Arkansas’ final six of the half to help the Lady’Backs stay close, 41-33.
Bush finished with a career-tying 13 points and career high eight for Hobbs.