comscore script

Arkansas moves on to #17 Vanderbilt today

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas moves on to #17 Vanderbilt today

TELEVISION: First three rounds, Fox Sports Net/SEC TV; finals, ESPN2

RADIO: Lady Razorback Radio Network (CST); 8:00 p.m. pregame; 8:18 tipoff

KABZ (103.7 FM), Little Rock (LIVE)

KBNV (90.1 FM), Fayetteville-Springdale (LIVE)

KXUA (88.3 FM), Fayetteville (LIVE)

KHOZ (900 AM), Harrison (LIVE)

INTERNET: LADYBACKS.COM; free audio stream

ARKANSAS LADY RAZORBACKS (16-12, 3-11 SEC)

POSSIBLE STARTERS

F 14 Danielle Allen 6-0 SO Harrison, AR (Harrison) 9.6 5.5

F 33 Sarah Pfeifer 6-0 SO Ozark, AR (High) 11.6 4.5

G 4 Kristin Peoples 5-7 SO Westerville, OH (Brookhaven) 9.7 3.1a 1.8s

G 21 Rochelle Vaughn 5-9 JR Plano, TX (Plano West) 9.0 4.5 3.1a

G 44 Adrienne Bush 5-8 SR Russellville, AR (High/SMS) 3.4 2.4

OFF THE BENCH

P 11 Kristina Andjelkovic 6-2 JR Belgrade, Serbia (Chipola JC) 1.9 1.3

G 12 Sheree Thompson 5-10 JR McComb, MS (NW-Shoals) 5.9 2.8 2.6a

G 15 Allison Singleton 5-5 SR Fort Smith, AR (Southside) 0.4 0.0

G 22 April Seggebruch 5-10 SR Cissna Park, IL (Wabash Valley) 3.6 1.4

G/F 23 Melissa Hobbs 6-0 JR Woodward, OK (High/Colo.) 2.2 1.2

G 25 Brittney Vaughn 5-7 FR Plano, TX (Plano West) 3.7 2.1 1.7a

INJURED

F/P 1 Kristin Moore 6-1 JR Chicago, Ill. (John Hope) 6.3 5.9

P 55 Ruby Vaden 6-3 JR Osceola, AR, (High) 6.5 3.9

HEAD COACH: Susie Gardner (Second year at Arkansas, 32-24; eighth overall, 144-116)

AND NOW, 1-0: Arkansas heads into the second round of the SEC Tournament for the fourth time in the past five years after defeating Miss State. Arkansas earns the rematch with Vanderbilt, one of the SEC teams to hand the Lady’Backs a thrashing this season. Arkansas’ combination of its best offensive shooting game of the year and a crushing second-half defense put the 11 seed into Day Two.

ABOUT THE LADY RAZORBACKS: Susie Gardner comes to the close of her second season at Arkansas with one of the most interesting seasons in school history. At the start of the year, Arkansas returned four starters from a 16-12 team, and picks up two more potential starters that missed virtually all of 2003-04 with injury. At the same time, the Lady’Backs have only three seniors with a combined varsity experience of a season and a half at Arkansas. Defense dominated for Arkansas as the Lady Razorbacks early this season had one of the best starts in school history. At midseason, the Lady’Backs lost starting center Kristin Moore and her primary back-up Ruby Vaden for the season to ACL injuries. Gardner retooled the team again as conference play began, splitting the four-spot combo of Sarah Pfeifer and Danielle Allen into a power-and-speed post tandem.

#17 VANDERBILT COMMODORES (21-6, 10-4 SEC)

POSSIBLE STARTERS

G/F 32 Ashley Early 5-10 SR Memphis, TN (Briarcrest) 18.3 9.6

F 50 Carla Thomas 6-3 SO Mechanicsburg, PA (Cumb. Val.) 16.3 6.3

G 10 Dee Davis 5-7 SO Cincinnati, OH (Princeton) 13.8 3.8 6.2

G 20 Abi Ramsey 5-10 SR Monteagle, TN (Shelbyville) 11.1 2.6

G 33 Caroline Williams 5-10 SO Rockmart, GA (High) 5.1 1.6

OFF THE BENCH

G 3 Cherish Stringfield 5-7 SO Wakefield, VA (Sussex Ctrl) 4.7 1.6

G 4 Katie Antony 5-10 SO Anacoco, LA (High) 5.6 3.2

C/F 31 Nicole Jules 6-3 JR Washington, DC (St. John’s) 3.5 1.9

G 11 Erica Grimaldi 5-5 JR Kansas City, MO (ND deSion) 0.3 0.9

G/F 2 Katie Eggers 6-0 FR Nelson, New Zealand 1.3 0.7

HEAD COACH: Melanie Balcomb (Third year at Vanderbilt, 79-24; 12th overall, 232-128)

NOT SO LONG AGO: Arkansas faced Vandy only four games ago, and Arkansas has gone 0-3 since taking a beat-down at Memorial Coliseum. The Commodores have won three straight, including a thrilling OT result on senior day at Athens, Ga., over the Lady Bulldogs of Georgia.

COMMODORES ROLL INTO CAROLINA: Winning eight of their last nine games — and every game against teams’ whose names don’t start with a "T" — Vanderbilt comes to the tournament seeking its second trip to the title game in the past four seasons. Vandy was the runner-up to Tennessee last year at Nashville, with then freshman Carla Thomas earning tournament MVP honors.

PREVIEW OF COMING ATTACTIONS: Here’s another ironic twist to the year. After facing a murder’s row with Tennessee as the Eastern Division partner plus LSU as the permanent partner, the Lady’Backs play both of its future divisional partners if Arkansas advances to the second round. Next year, Miss State replaces Ole Miss and Vanderbilt takes Tennessee’s slot in our schedule.

ARKANSAS IS OH-FOR-AP: The Lady’Backs have yet to beat a ranked team this season, posting a 0-6 mark against ranked opponents.

NOTABLE FROM LAST GAME WITH VANDY:

SEASON LOW FOR POINTS AT VANDERBILT: The 43 managed by Arkansas at Memorial Gym was two less than inflicted by LSU at Baton Rouge. The 14 points in the first half tied the conference game low set on Jan. 30, 1993, at South Carolina.

NO TREYS: For the first time since the 1993 season, Arkansas was unable to hit a three-pointer in a conference game. The Lady’Backs went 0-for-18 at Vanderbilt. The mark dates back to a Jan. 23, 1993, game against Kentucky that Arkansas won, 45-43.

PAGING THE SHOT DOCTOR, STAT: Much was made about Arkansas’ shooting turnaround last week after flailing at Auburn. Reality came back to Arkansas’ struggling shooters at Vanderbilt with a 22% first half, the lowest single half of SEC shooting this year since — of course — the 20% second half at Auburn.

LATE NIGHT WITH THE LADY’BACKS: It’s all night all the way. Arkansas draws the late night tipoff for the first three rounds — 9:15 eastern, 8:15 central. The finals are set for 7:00 p.m.

SUPER SOPHOMORES TO THE RESCUE: The future is bright at Arkansas as the Lady’Back sophomore class delivered the victory against Miss State, scoring 55 points compared to MSU senior Tan White’s 38.

GIVE UP 38? TRY 44: Arkansas’ only other win against Miss State at the SEC came with LaToya Thomas hitting an opponent record 44 points.

ANOTHER CAREER TIE FOR PEOPLES: Kristen Peoples had 18 points against Miss State, the fifth time in her career and the third time this year for the sophomore to hit her career best.

LADY’BACKS SET TOURNAMENT MARK: The 50.9% against Miss State was not only a season high for Arkansas, it broke the Lady’Back best at the SEC Tournament. Irony: the previous mark was 50.7% against Miss State in 2001.

HOT HOT HOT: Arkansas’ top scorers shot well over their season averages against Miss State — 50% for Kristin Peoples (33.8% for the season), 47.1% for Sarah Pfeifer (42.8%) and 63.6% for Danielle Allen (47.9%).

FREE THROWS? NO PROBLEM: While Arkansas might have ranked very, very low in the nation at midseason at the line, the Lady’Backs were a solid 75% at the line and stone cold in the closing minutes against Miss State. In the last 55 seconds of the game, Arkansas hit 8-of-10 to shut the door on a State comeback.

BACK IN THE STARTING FIVE: After being the sixth player for the closing games of the SEC season, Rochelle Vaughn returns to the starting lineup for the opening game of the SEC Tournament.

ON THE NEUTRAL COURT: Arkansas has four games this season on neutral ground, although two of them were neutral in name only as the Lady’Backs were the host for La-Lafayette in North Little Rock and faced Georgia Tech at the Gwinnett Center in north metro Atlanta. Nevertheless, the Lady’Backs are 3-1 on neutral courts, with the following notable numbers:

Three players are in double digits — Sarah Pfeifer (15.2 ppg), Kristin Peoples (14.0) and

the surprise, Sheree Thompson (10.6 ppg)

Arkansas is outshooting opponents — 45.1% vs. 41.6% — with a +7.8 scoring margin

Pfeifer leads the shooting with 53.3%, followed by Peoples (48.3%)

The rebound margin is cut to only -3.3

The turnover margin grows to +9.2 with 14 steals and 26 opponent TOs forced

THE SWISS MISS: Kristin Peoples proved with Miss State that she has become the queen of Switzerland with another outstanding neutral court performance. Hitting 50% from the field (5-of-10) and 7-of-8 at the line, Peoples tied her career high with 18 points. A player that became the ultimate homebody this season as the sophomore shoots 12.9% on the road and a mere 9% behind the foreign arcs. At home, Peoples is clocking 40.8% and 36.4% behind the red stripe at Walton. However, when Peoples hits the neutral court, she becomes super accurate with 48.7% from the field, a whopping 50.0% from range (and a team leading 10 made of 20 attempts) and 84.6% (with team leading made [21] and attempts [26]) at the line. Her 14 ppg is only one point shy of being the team leader on neutral courts as Sarah Pfeifer averages 15.2 ppg.

DROPPING DIMES IN SWITZERLAND: Rochelle Vaughn is the clear leader here with 22 assists and only seven turnovers on neutral courts. Vaughn also has a team-leading 13 steals in the four games. Sheree Thompson is next with 17 assists, 11 turnovers. Kristin Peoples is pretty good with 13 and a 1:1 assist to turnover ratio.

THE ROAD WARRIOR: While Sarah Pfeifer’s massive 24 points and a standing-eight at Kentucky certainly give her claim, the title of Road Warrior currently goes Danielle Allen. The lithe 6-0 sophomore has the best field goal percentage of all active players (49.0%) and tops the team with 11.3 ppg on the road. She also leads with 5.7 rpg, second in blocked shots with 7, and interestingly is second on the team for steals with 16 (just edged by Rochelle Vaughn). Allen also has the most minutes played on the road with 297.

PFEIFER-ISM: Sarah Pfeifer’s post game quote says it all: "Well, there’s only one team in this game use to the arena."

CLAMPING DOWN THE DEFENSE: Arkansas allowed a single field goal to Miss State down the stretch as the Lady’Backs erased the Lady Bulldogs’ 11-point halftime lead. State went 2:55 without a point before a Tan White layup with 10:58 snapped 9-0 run by Arkansas. But MSU couldn’t stop the comeback as another 2:01 passed — and a 3-0 burst for Arkansas’ first second half lead — before Tiania Burns scored to give State its last lead, 62-61, with 8:36 to play. Arkansas clamped down for the decisive defensive stand — a 4:52 shutout with a 6-0 Lady’Back run to lead 67-62 before White got a bucket. The Lady’Back defense added a 2:31 insurance stand. In total, State had only four field goals during a 12:40 span as Arkansas ran MSU 26-8.

SUSIE SAYS: The quote that sums it up against Miss State at the SECs: "At this level, a player can’t beat a team."

COUNT IT OVER WHEN: Arkansas leads at halftime (10-0), scores over 80 points (6-0), holds the opponent under 35% from the field (6-0).

THAT 70s TEAM: When Arkansas scores more than 70 points, the Lady’Backs are 14-2. Less than 70, only 2-10.

NOW THE TWO: After leading the nation most of the year, Arkansas is now second in the country in steals per game after the Feb. 14 rankings. Heading into March, Arkansas still stands at second in the nation. North Carolina broke Arkansas’ run of seven straight reporting weeks at No. 1, edging past the Lady’Backs with 14.5 steals to 14.4 for Arkansas, for the Jan. 31 report (the eighth of the year).

THE CRUELEST CUT: Arkansas and Florida get the worst of the two-year cycle of rotating partners. Both teams have the low seed score of the conference divisions. Arkansas get eight from LSU (1), UT (2) and UM (5), while Florida goes one lower with LSU (1), VU (3) and UG (4). The rest of the league has some balance. Auburn is next with 14 then Vanderbilt with 17. The rest are 20 and over: USC, 20; UM, 21; UK, 22; UG, 23; LSU, 24; MSU, 24; Bama, 25; UT, 26.

ARKANSAS AT THE SEC TOURNAMENT: Arkansas heads to its 14th SEC Tournament with an overall record of 9-13.

ALL HANDS ON DECK: Phill Vardiman is knocking on every piece of wood he can find as the Lady’Backs head to Greenville with all available players reasonably healthy for the first time in three weeks.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)