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Arkansas shatters defensive record with Coppin victory

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas shatters defensive record with Coppin victory

MIAMI – Senior Kristin Moore was the only player in double digits for either team as she led the University of Arkansas Lady Razorbacks to a 49-33 win over Coppin State University in the opening round of the Florida International University Sun & Fun Invitational. Arkansas, 8-4, faces the host Golden Panthers tonight at 6 p.m. central. FIU rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit to defeat Northern Illinois, 74-71. The game sets up the first-ever meeting for Arkansas with FIU, and a chance for the Lady’Backs to win their first in-season tournament title since the 2002 Gene Hackerman Invitational at Rice. “Our defense did an outstanding job, but we didn’t do a good job of getting our shooters open,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “We will need to do a much better job with FIU.” The 33 points allowed is the fourth lowest in the 30-year history of Lady Razorback basketball, and the least points allowed in a neutral court game. “To hold them to only 13 points in the second half is impressive,” Gardner said. “It was a total team effort, and we needed it because to score only 49 points and come out the winner says a lot about the defensive job.” After a less-than-stellar offensive output in the first half, Arkansas jumped on CSU for an 8-2 run to start the second half. Sheree Thompson hit the first three-pointer of the game for either team to give the Lady’Backs their first double-digit lead of the game, 32-22, with 16:09. Arkansas slowly built to a lead of 15 before Coppin’s offense stirred in the final minutes of the game. Back-to-back scores for the first time in the second half allowed the Lady Eagles to pull within nine, 40-31. Moore’s jumper with 4:41 left in the game snapped an almost four-minute scoring drought for Arkansas to regain the double-digit lead. Leslie Howard backed in on the next possession with her first three-pointer of the game to put Arkansas back in control, 45-31, with 3:47 to play. The Lady’Backs turned to their defense again, holding CSU to one field goal in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. Neither team could string together more than six consecutive points. The Lady’Backs were plagued by uncharacteristic turnovers, committing eight by halftime. “We weren’t in sync in the first half on offense, and we made some poor decisions,” Gardner said. “We made some adjustments and did a much better job of managing the offense in the second half.” The pace of the first half was set from the tipoff. The Lady’Backs’ defense held Coppin scoreless for the first 4:23 of the game, but Arkansas struggled to take only a 6-0 lead. Coppin State pulled within two points twice in the opening half, but the Lady’Backs maintained the lead into halftime, 24-20, in spite of the lowest scoring output for Arkansas in the first half of the season. The 13-point second half was the least points allowed by Arkansas in a half this year. The last time Arkansas allowed less than 33 points was back in November 1991 as the Lady’Backs thrashed Alabama State, 86-31, at Barnhill Arena in the opening round of the Arkansas Invitational. The only other games with less points score by an opponent come from the inaugural season of varsity women’s basketball as Arkansas allowed Bartlesville Wesleyan only 19 points on the road and 29 points at Barnhill Arena in the return game. The next season, Arkansas also allowed 29 to Cottey College at Barnhill.For a neutral court game, the 33 points allowed surpassed the previous defensive best of 41 points scored by Hampton versus Arkansas in the 2002 Paradise Jam and by New Hampshire in the 1995 FIU Fun and Sun.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)