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Arkansas pulls near-upset against #15 Purdue

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas pulls near-upset against #15 Purdue

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Katie Gearlds’ three-pointer with 34 seconds left allowed the 15th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers to escape the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks, 55-51, in the opening round of the Flint Hills Resources Islander Classic at Texas A&M Corpus Christi Thursday evening. Arkansas, 2-1, led by five late in the game, but was unable to keep Purdue, 2-0, from making a last minute comeback. “We played well enough to win, and we had the defensive stops at the end of the game,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “It’s obvious that our defense is going to come every night, but we have got to score in tight games like this.” Arkansas faces Idaho State tomorrow evening at the American Bank Center. The Lady’Backs forced 34 turnovers and picked off 19 steals from the Boilermakers, but did not score a field goal in the last 8:23 of the game. “It was back and forth all game, and we played great defense,” Gardner said. “We have got to find a way to score more.” In a back-and-forth game that had six ties and seven lead changes, each team had offensive runs, but Purdue’s proved decisive. Kristin Peoples led all scorers with 14 for Arkansas followed by 10 from Sheree Thompson. Sharika Webb had 13 for Purdue before fouling out. Erin Lawless added 11. Arkansas used free throws to take a 51-49 lead in the final two minutes, but despite three defensive stops could not extend the lead. On the fourth try to take the lead, Geralds’ hit her golden goal for the decisive lead. The Lady’Backs had a chance to tie after Geralds shot, but turnovers cost Arkansas its final comeback. Forced to foul, Purdue did not miss for the final margin of victory. Outside shooting drove an 8-3 burst by Arkansas to tie the game at 37-37 with 15:59 left in the contest, April Seggebrook’s deep three-pointer tying the game. Arkansas clamped down defensively as Purdue turnovers led to back-to-back layups from Seggebruch and a three-on-one fast break finished by Ruby Vaden for a 44-39 lead with 12:14. Breakaway layups by Peoples kept Purdue at bay until the Boilermakers used the free throw line to pulled within two, 48-46. Peoples’ layup with 8:03 to play to give Arkansas’ 48 points proved to be the final field goal of the game for the Lady’Backs. Defense took over the game as neither team could manage a field goal for over two minutes until Webb’s three-point play with 4:42 to play gave Purdue the lead, 49-48. After a single free throw from Sarah Pfeifer tied the game at 49, Peoples drew Webb’s fifth foul and hit both free throws to return the lead to Arkansas, 51-49. Purdue committed three straight turnovers in the closing two minutes, but Arkansas could not convert on any, setting the stage for Geralds. Purdue’s inside power flustered the Lady Razorbacks in the opening minutes of the game as the Boilermakers went on a 15-3 run fueled by second-chance baskets. Trailing 17-10, Arkansas went to the perimeter to get back into the game against the preseason pick to win the Big 10. Thompson buried back-to-back three-pointers before a three-point play from Rochelle Vaughn to start a 16-2 run by the Lady’Backs Arkansas’ pressure defense forced Purdue into 16 first-half turnovers and a four-point lead, 29-25, with two minutes left in the first half. But it was Arkansas miscues at the close of the half that provided a 9-0 run by Purdue to lead at halftime, 34-29.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)