RADIO: Lady Razorback Radio Network (CST); 12:40 p.m. pregame; 1:00 tipoff
KABZ (103.7 FM), Little Rock (LIVE)
KBNV (90.1 FM), Fayetteville-Springdale (LIVE)
KHOZ (900 AM), Harrison (LIVE)
INTERNET: LADYBACKS.COM; free audio stream
ARKANSAS LADY RAZORBACKS (9-2, 0-1 SEC)
F/P 1 Kristin Moore 6-1 JR Chicago, Ill. (John Hope) 6.5 5.9
F 14 Danielle Allen 6-0 SO Harrison, AR (Harrison) 7.3 4.5
G 4 Kristin Peoples 5-7 SO Westerville, OH (Brookhaven) 10.9 3.6a 2.9s
G 12 Sheree Thompson 5-10 JR McComb, MS (NW-Shoals) 7.6 3.6 3.6a
G 21 Rochelle Vaughn 5-9 JR Plano, TX (Plano West) 10.5 4.2 3.1a
OFF THE BENCH
P 11 Kristina Andjelkovic 6-2 JR Belgrade, Serbia (Chipola JC) 1.7 1.3
P 55 Ruby Vaden 6-3 JR Osceola, Ark, (High) 7.7 4.6
F 33 Sarah Pfeifer 6-0 SO Ozark, Ark. (High) 8.6 3.4
G 15 Allison Singleton 5-5 SR Fort Smith, AR (Southside) 0.0 0.0
G 22 April Seggebruch 5-10 SR Cissna Park, IL (Wabash Valley) 3.8 2.1
G/F 23 Melissa Hobbs 6-0 JR Woodward, OK (High/Colo.) 1.0 0.7
G 25 Brittney Vaughn 5-7 FR Plano, TX (Plano West) 3.8 1.8 1.5a
G 44 Adrienne Bush 5-8 SR Russellville, AR (High/SMS) 1.6 1.5
HEAD COACH: Susie Gardner (Second year at Arkansas, 25-14; eighth overall, 137-106)
CINCINNATI BEARCATS (5-6, 0-0 C-USA)
C 45 Anne Stephens 6-4 JR Mineral Wells, WV (Parkersburg S.) 12.0 6.4
G 13 Toni Slaughter 6-0 SO Shelbyville, KY (County) 11.3 6.7
G 11 Leslie Knoch 5-6 JR Whipple, OH (Fort Frye) 9.2 3.4
G 32 Karen Twehues 6-0 SO Minusio, Switzerland 8.9 2.8
1 Ashley Brown 6.5 6.3
OFF THE BENCH
G 12 Micah Harvey 5-7 JR Sardinia, OH (Eastern Brown) 4.0 1.3
F 22 Crystal Ashley 6-1 SR Oakland, CA (Cowley Cty) 1.0 0.7
HEAD COACH: Laurie Pirtle (19th year at UC, 274-266; 23rd overall, 357-278)
ABOUT THE GAME: Arkansas opens the new year with a non-conference contest at Cincinnati. The entire series has taken place in the Queen City as the Lady’Backs faced the Bearcats in the opening round of the NCAA tournament in 2003 at Fifth-Third Arena. Defense carries Arkansas, and the Lady"Backs arrive smarting from a disappointing first half in the SEC opener. The Bearcats aren’t in a much better mood after losing their last game on Dec. 29 at Middle Tennessee.
ABOUT THE LADY RAZORBACKS: Susie Gardner begins her second season at Arkansas with one of the most interesting rosters in the past decade. Arkansas returns 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 dominates for Arkansas as the Lady Razorbacks have used a double-digit turnover margin and the nation’s top steal defense to disrupt opponents.
ABOUT THE BEARCATS: An up-and-down season for Cincinnati as the Bearcats have not won or lost more than three in a row this year. At the Fifth-Third Arena, the Bearcats are 5-3 this season, winning their last two games. However, UC enters this game after losing at Middle Tennessee State, 64-47.
WE’VE GOT THAT IN COMMON: Both teams defeated Alabama State this season at home. The Lady’Backs dispatched the Lady Hornets, 74-49, back on Nov. 19, while the Bearcats downed ASU, 73-41, on Dec. 18.
TALE OF TWO HALVES: Arkansas‘ offense sputtered at the start of the Georgia game, missing its first 12 shots and closing the opening 20 minutes with only 15 points and 21 percent from the field. In the second half, the Lady"Backs found their shot with over 50% from the field and matched Georgia point-for-point with 42.
ALLEN SPARKS SECOND HALF: Sophomore Danielle Allen had a rough beginning in her first-ever SEC start, playing only 11 minutes with a missed shot in the first half at Georgia. In the second half, however, Allen called the jitters and hit 6-of-8 for all 12 of her points.
VADEN HITS THE LINE AT GEORGIA: Junior Ruby Vaden had a to-date season high of 10 free throw attempts at Georgia, and unlike her previous high for free throws (0-of-9 at Memphis) Vaden hit six throws for half of her 12 points off the bench.
GEORGIA INVOKES GOLDEN RULE WITH ARKANSAS: For the opening five minutes at Georgia, the 16th-ranked Lady Bulldogs did unto Arkansas what the Lady’Backs had done onto its first 10 non-conference foes. Holding Arkansas scoreless for a 12-0 start, Georgia had a 23-2 opening run that included 12 straight missed shots and for the half 15 turnovers
ARKANSAS‘ RPI HITS TOP 30: After defeating Oregon, the Lady Razorbacks moved to 27th in the most recent WBCA/Summerville RPI. The Lady’Backs are 1-1 against the RPI top 25 — win over Indiana, loss to Purdue — then 1-0 against top 50 teams (Oregon at #32).
ARKANSAS RETURNS TO ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL: For the first time since Week Five (12/15/03) of last year’s poll, the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks are among the also receiving votes for the Associated Press Top 25. The Lady’Backs were in the preseason and first four weeks of last season’s poll after spending a complete year ranked in 2003-04. Arkansas jumps in with 15 votes after defeating the Oregon Ducks, who drop from near the top 25 to only six votes this week. The 15 votes puts Arkansas in the middle of the "alsos." Arkansas received no votes from the coaches.
DON’T DESPAIR: While lamenting the Lady’Backs’ offensive woes at Athens, remember that Arkansas‘ last victim, Oregon, handed Stanford an upset to start Pac-10 play. Western Kentucky left Arkansas and days later beat Vanderbilt.
STILL THE ONE: Arkansas reigns for a third week atop the NCAA Division I steal rankings with 18.3 per game in the Dec. 20 report. Arkansas-Pine Bluff is still second, but the gap widened to 2.4 steals. Vanderbilt is 11th at 14 spg. Kristin Peoples and Rochelle Vaughn both dropped to a tie for 42nd nationwide, and are in third in the SEC.
QUIETLY MOVING UP THE CHARTS: Arkansas ranks 29th in the nation this week for assists with 17.3 per game. Kansas State leads at 20.3.
20 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: When Arkansas‘ bench scores over 20 points, the Lady’Backs win. The bench is averaging 24.9 ppg through the first 11 games, but the exception to the 20-point rule seems to be top 20 teams. Arkansas has lost both top 20 games, one with less than 20 from the bench (17, Purdue) and one with more (29, Georgia).
SERIES: Arkansas leads, 1-0, with the only meeting at Cincinnati during the 2003 NCAA tournament.
LAST TIME WITH CINCINNATI: #24 Arkansas 71, Cincinnati 51
Dana Cherry stepped up with one of her most complete games of the season, scoring 18 points to lead 24th-ranked Arkansas. The margin of victory is not indicative of the close nature of the game as the Lady’Backs trailed most of the first half as Shameka Christon played only three minutes due to foul trouble and India Lewis faltered from the field. The duo was scoreless in the first half for the first time this year, but one of Cherry’s best opening periods kept Arkansas close, 32-28 at halftime. Cherry scored 10 in the first half, over a third of Arkansas early scoring. Arkansas shot 45% in the second half with Christon getting all 13 of her points in the second half along with 10 from Lewis late. Lewis went on an eight-point run to hold Cincinnati at bay before the Bearcats’ fouling in the last minute inflated the score. While the focus was on the top three scorers, Arkansas‘ bench outscored Cincinnati, 26-3, with freshman Ruby Vaden scoring 10 points on 5-of-5 from the field before fouling out of the game.
NOT A LOT OF POINTS BACK FOR ARKANSAS FROM THAT GAME: Only four players that scored are still with the Lady’Backs from the 2003 meeting, and one of them, Sarah Pfeifer, was hardly 100%. Pfeifer had come back from her very first serious shoulder injury as a freshman to return to the court in the first round game.
GAME WINNERS: Arkansas is on a four-game winning streak when it comes to last-minute contests. After failing to make the crucial score in the closing minute against Purdue, and in turn losing 55-51, Arkansas has used clutch plays to defeat Memphis, Western Kentucky, Indiana and Oregon. Emblematic of Arkansas‘ team concept, each of the four games had a different Lady"Back providing the defining moment. With Oregon, it was Sheree Thompson’s block of Gabrielle Richards’ three-point attempt with one second left. At Memphis, Sarah Pfeifer came off the bench for a run-stopping jump shot in the closing minutes. With Western Kentucky, Rochelle Vaughn’s 10-foot jumper in the lane sealed the game in the last seconds. Versus Indiana, Kristin Peoples stepped to the free throw line to sink the icing points.
ON ANY GIVEN DAY: Sheree Thompson’s 20 points against ULL was only the second time this season that any Lady Razorback scored 20 points in a game, tying the team high set by Danielle Allen in the season opener with her 20 against Alabama State. In the first 10 games, six different players have been the leading scorer, with only Kristin Peoples repeating more than twice.
QUOTE OF THE YEAR ON COACH G’s D: To date, this is the best from Wichita State‘s Jane Albright: "If we weren’t in the locker room away from them, they’d probably be guarding us right now."
TIME IS ON OUR SIDE: Under Susie Gardner’s new system, no Lady Razorback is averaging over 30 minutes a game, but 10 are playing double-digit minutes and 11 and 12 are seeing over six minutes. In the starting five, only Rochelle Vaughn (29.8 minutes) and Kristin Peoples (27.0 minutes) approach 30. Sheree Thompson is next at 25.8, followed by Danielle Allen at 22.8 and Kristin Moore at 19.5. April Seggebruch leads off the bench at 16.9, followed by Ruby Vaden at 16.5, Sarah Pfeifer at 14.9, Adrienne Bush at 12.1 and Brittney Vaughn with 11.0.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Arkansas is undefeated this season at Walton Arena with a six-game win streak.
NO PLACE FOR THE NON-CONFERENCE: The Indiana win tied the longest winning streak in Arkansas history at home against non-conference teams at 19 game, then broke the mark with Wichita State. After defeating Oregon, the Lady’Backs move the non-conference streak to 21 games, and wait for next year to continue the run. The last non-conference team to win at Walton Arena was Northern Iowa — ironic — on Dec. 7, 2001.
NO PLACE FOR THE UNRANKED: Arkansas also has a 26-game streak at home against unranked teams, with the all-time mark of 30 straight. The last unranked team to beat Arkansas in Fayetteville was Alabama on Jan. 10, 2002.
NOTES ON PREVIOUS ARKANSAS GAMES
TIES BEST 10-GAME START: With the win over Oregon, Arkansas ties the school mark for best 10-game start at 9-1. The Lady’Backs have reached 9-1 three other times in the program’s 28 year history, with the most recent coming in 2002-03. In 1994-95 Arkansas went to 10-1 and 1996-97 saw the best "and one" start going 13-1 before losing at Illinois.
THE LINE SHALL SET YOU FREE: After struggling mightily the past few games, Arkansas used one of its best quality games at the free throw line to defeat Oregon. The Lady’Backs shot 63.6% from the line, picking up 21 points from 33 attempts. Leading the way was Kristin Peoples with 10-of-12 — all of her points versus the Ducks.
BAH HUMBUG: Arkansas‘ defense ruined back-to-back best starts for opponents, first ending Louisiana-Lafayette’s all-time best start then sealing the Oregon Ducks’ fate in the top 25. The Lady’Backs got into their holiday-ruining spirit by stopping a 6-1 start by Memphis, a 3-1 start by Indiana and crushing Centenary after a record-setting first game by the Ladies.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DEFENSIVE MILESTONE: Sure, by one second, but Oregon went 3:14 before scoring their first points against Arkansas. That bested the 3:13 by Indiana.
MAKING DUCK PATE: Oregon came to Fayetteville ranked 11th in the nation in turnovers per game before facing Arkansas. The Lady’Back defense pressed the Ducks into a fine paste as Oregon committed more turnovers in the first half — 17 — than they averaged per game — 13.9 — to allow Arkansas a 31-15 halftime lead. It was the worst first half of the year for Oregon. The Ducks quacked it up a season-high 25 times, almost double their average and surpassing their previous season high of 21 against top 10 ranked Ohio State.
PG, PG, WHATCHA GONNA DO WHEN THEY COME FOR YOU: Arkansas‘ defense turned over three of the nation’s top point guards in the first 10 games of the seaon. Oregon‘s Connie Mizusawa arrived in Fayetteville No. 3 in the nation (7.8 apg) in assists and sporting a 4.8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Her last game was 8 assists to one turnover versus top 10 Ohio State. Arkansas forced Mizusawa into five turnovers and the senior managed a mere three assists as the Ducks committed a total of 26 turnovers with only 11 assists. Previous game, the nation’s No. 6 point guard, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Ashley Blanche (6.9 apg), became the fifth guard to commit nine or more turnovers. At the start of December, Arkansas forced Western Kentucky into 40 total turnovers, led by the nation’s No. 18 assist-maker, Tifany Zaragoza, with seven turnovers.
BETTER OFFENSE? IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DEFENSE: Arkansas turned the Ragin’ Cajuns into mild-mannered Franco-Americans thanks to a +13 turnover margin, a +8 rebound margin and a dominating +12 offensive rebound margin. The result was 29 more shots from the field for Arkansas that combined with 46.8% from the field more than neutralized ULL’s impressive 54.2% overall and 50% three-point shooting. Arkansas‘ the 12 picks against the Ragin’ Cajuns were highly effective. With a +13 turnover ratio and positive points off turnovers — 29 points off 24 turnovers — Arkansas proved once again that you don’t need a lot of spice to make a hot dish.
POINT OF CONTENTION: Arkansas turned one of the South’s better point guards, ULL’s Ashley Blanche, into another pastry chef with nine turnovers. It marked the fifth time this season the Lady’Backs forced an opponent point guard into nine or more mistakes. Arkansas also got eight turnovers out of Tiffany Washington, making Washington and Blanche the second-highest teammates this year (the Lady’Backs had nine each from Alabama State‘s Shaunte Thompson and Latoya Robinson).
OUR TEAM BEATS YOUR STARTERS ANY DAY: ULL learned the G’s D lesson when it took foul trouble before significant substitutions started in the second half. Meanwhile, Arkansas was 11 down the bench by halftime, and closed with nine players in double-digit minutes.
NO. 1 RANKING IN STEALS A FIRST: Arkansas has ranked No. 1 in the nation in field goal percentage (during the 1990-91 season) and free throw percentage (Christy Smith’s freshman season), but the top spot in a defensive category is an all-time first for the Lady Razorbacks regardless of this week’s change in stats. The Lady’Backs held on to both the team field goal (1990-91 season) and individual free throw (Smith, 1994-95) titles as the only times the team led the nation in a NCAA statistical category.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Susie Gardner won her first game at Memphis — only the second time in school history for the Lady’Backs to win at Elma Roane Fieldhouse — but the Lady Tigers achieved a minor milestone of their own: they forced Arkansas into more turnovers, 21 to 18.
BRINGIN’ IT FROM THE BENCH: For the second game in a row, Arkansas‘ bench provided serious offensive firepower. However, at Memphis, the subs outscored the starters — a first for this season — as three players came off the bench for double-digit games. One sub was a starter for the first seven games — Sheree Thompson. Thompson hit 5-of-6 from the field, pulled down six rebounds and dished out six assists. Sarah Pfeifer rolled into the game with what is becoming a routine 11 points in 19 minutes played. The surprise was Ruby Vaden with 7-of-9 for 14 points in 23 minutes.
BENCH THUNDER: Arkansas has rolled off the bench with its leading scorer and rebounder in the past two games. Almost half the points against Indiana were from the bench and 34 of 78 against Wichita State. For Wichita State, Sarah Pfeifer bettered her career-tying performance with Indiana by scoring 16 points with eight rebounds in only 15 minutes. Ruby Vaden brought nine rebounds from the bench against WSU, tying Kristin Moore for top honors.
WHEAT TURNOVERS: After a one-game hiatus, Arkansas returned to its steady diet of defensive turnovers against Wichita State. The Shockers gave up the ball 28 times leading to 29 Arkansas points and keyed the 40-18 halftime lead. Compounding WSU’s offensive woes was Arkansas half-court pressure that led to only 20% from the field.
YOU CAN’T SCORE IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE BALL: So far this season, Arkansas has trimmed the tall timber, most recently 6-7 sophomore Sarah McKay of Indiana. As a freshman, McKay thrashed the Lady’Backs with 9-of-11 from the field for 18 points at Bloomington. Against a smaller, but more defensively oriented, lineup this year, McKay did not score a single field goal, only shot the ball four times and her two points were a pair of free throws.
POINT GUARDS BEWARE: For the third time in five games, Arkansas forced nine or more turnovers from the opponent point guard. Twice this season, Arkansas has gotten a double out the opponent point guard — 10 by Idaho State‘s Camile Michaelson and 10 from Laura Kizyte of Centenary. The turnover low for an opponent point guard is seven (against seven assists) for Tifany Zaragoza of Western Kentucky.
NOT ALL THE OFFENSE WE WANT, BUT ALL THE OFFENSE WE NEED: Arkansas went a combined 11 minute stretch without a field goal in the middle of the Indiana game, but in the end it was the Hoosiers that could not produce in the crucial time to score final moments. First, the Hoosiers failed to take advantage of the Lady’Backs’ offensive lapse thanks to Arkansas‘ tenacious defense. During Arkansas‘ drought, Indiana closed the final 3:30 of the first half with one field goal and went the first 5:22 of the second half without a field goal. However, the coup de main was the last 88 seconds of the game as the Hoosiers had only one field goal and the Lady’Backs pulled ahead.
DEFENSE COMES IN DIFFERENT FLAVORS: Sometimes you want more than turnovers and Arkansas went toe-to-toe with a physical, larger Indiana lineup in the halfcourt. Holding Indiana to only 33.9% from the field and 22.2% in the second half, the Lady’Backs got the pressure turnovers when they counted in the closing minutes of the game.
POSSESSION IS 9/10THS OF THE LAW; 100% IN VICTORY: In the final nine minutes against Indiana, Arkansas did not make a turnover while the Hoosiers had seven. Those seven led to seven of the Lady’Backs’ final 15 points, including a 5-0 run that tied the game at 43-43 with 5:49 left.
TREYS AWAY: After games with neither team connecting from outside, the Indiana game was a three-point shooting contest. Arkansas won on percentage — 4-of-8 vs. 7-of-16 — and timeliness. Rochelle Vaughn pushed the team high to three made with her 3-of-5, but Kristin Peoples’ game-winner with 42 seconds left was the most important of all.
BENCH PLAY LEADS THE WAY: Sophomore Sarah Pfeifer came off the bench against Indiana to score a career high tying 13 points in 21 minutes at the high post while junior Ruby Vaden had her best rebounding game of the season with 10 boards and seven points in 25 minutes.
LESS PRESSURE, FEWER POINTS: Susie Gardner switched defensive tactics against Indiana, and the Hoosiers never got on track. While the move resulted in a season low for opponent turnovers (19), Indiana gave up the ball seven times in the final minutes when it counted. The defensive shift resulted in a dramatic drop in opponent field goal percentage and scoring as Indiana had the second-lowest point total — 50, the worst opponent half — 18 points, and the worst opponent field goal percentage — 33.9% — to date. In perspective, Arkansas‘ three opponent lows: 49, Alabama State; 50, Indiana; 52, Centenary.
COACH G’s D STRIKES AGAIN: Susie Gardner told everyone that would listen that this year’s team would need its defense to carry the day and drive the offense. For the third consecutive game, Arkansas pumped 40 turnovers from an opponent at Walton Arena and broke the school record for steals for the second time this year with 29 against Western Kentucky.
FIVE STARTERS, THREE STEAL HIGHS: Arkansas‘ five starters against Western Kentucky combined for 26 of the school-record 29 steals versus the Lady Toppers. Leading the way was Kristin Moore with a career shattering eight steals (previous of one several times) and Kristin Peoples with a career-tying six. Rochelle Vaughn was off her career best by two with five versus WKU. Sheree Thompson was next with four and Danielle Allen had her career high with three.
FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM: Arkansas shot only 25.6% (10-of-39) in the first half and dug itself a 15-point hole versus Western Kentucky. In the second half, 51.4% off 18-of-35 as the Lady’Backs outscored WKU 52-38 to swing the final margin 19 points. Arkansas missed its first seven field goal attempts of the game, then went a miserable 1-of-13. Sparked by Kristin Moore in the late first half, the offense began to turn and finish the game by shooting 27-of-61 after the poor start.
HAVE SOME BOILED TURNOVERS: After a 43 turnover average in the first two games, Arkansas proved its defensive pressure wasn’t a fluke by forcing 34 turnovers and picking up 19 steals from #13 Purdue in the opening round of the TAMU-CC tournament.
DEFENSE CLAMPS DOWN ON PURDUE: After giving up 42.4% in the first half and a 34-29 halftime deficit, Arkansas held #13 Purdue to only 27.3% from the field and a mere 21 second half points.
A GAME OF RUNS: Purdue and Arkansas traded leads and streaks in a defense-dominated matchup. The Boilermakers’ 15-3 shortly after tipoff was matched by 16-2 by Arkansas. After half, each went on mini-runs to lead by five points. Unfortunately for Arkansas, Purdue got the last run with a 6-0 burst in the final minute.
WE CALL IT AN OFFENSIVE COMA: Any time a team goes more than three minutes without scoring, that’s an offensive coma. Arkansas‘ field goal shooting lapsed with a layup by Kristin Peoples at the 8:23 mark left in the Purdue game as the Lady’Backs had only three free throws the rest of the game.
GIVING ALMOST AS GOOD AS THEY GET: Purdue had its own offensive coma against the Arkansas defense, going 4:16 down the stretch without a point to give the Lady’Backs the lead, 48-43. The Boilermakers went a total of 6:38 without a field goal — only a pair of free throws — which overlapped the start of Arkansas‘ game-ending drought.
WNBA TRYOUT: Defense dominates the American pro league, and that certainly was the case as #15 Purdue and Arkansas combined for one field goal in the final 4:45 of a 55-51 contest.
STEAL RECORD FALLS WITH CENTENARY: After almost taking the school record for steals against Alabama State with 24, the Lady’Backs turned around less than 36 hours later to break the record with 28 against Centenary.
TEAM EFFORT IN OPENER: Arkansas had scoring from 10 of 11 Lady’Backs that played against Alabama State and eight players led or co-led the team in a statistical category.
DIFFERENCE A HALF CAN MAKE: The Lady’Backs shot 21 free throws each half against Alabama State, but Arkansas hit only 38.1% from the line to start, then made 61.9% in the second.
THAT’S A FOUL START: Alabama State came within two of the Walton Arena mark for opponent personal fouls, and saw two starters leave early with five. It led Arkansas to the line for 42 free throws, one shy of the arena record.
WE LIKE INSECT TURNOVERS FOR MORE PROTEIN: The Alabama State Lady Hornets committed 45 turnovers against Arkansas in the season opener for both teams, breaking a 14-year-old Lady Razorback school record. The Murray State Lady Racers set the mark at 43 turnovers in December 1990. It also set a new Bud Walton Arena mark, surpassing the 40 committed by Southeastern Louisiana in 2000.
BUT IT’S WHAT YOU DO WITH THE TURNOVERS THAT COUNTS: Arkansas had a whopping +24 turnover margin against Alabama State, including a +14 first-half spread. But Arkansas led ASU by only four, 34-30, at halftime thanks to an inability to convert 24 Hornet mistakes into points. Arkansas had only 15 points off turnovers in the first half. That changed dramatically in the second as 21 Alabama State errors led to 23 Arkansas points.
NEAR MISS ON STEAL RECORD: The 24 steals against Alabama State by the Lady’Backs came within one of the Bud Walton Arena and two of the overall school record.
20 IN A ROW IN THE HOME OPENER: Arkansas‘ record-setting defensive effort against Alabama State gave the Lady Razorbacks their 20th straight home opener, and moved the record in the first home game to 28-1 all-time.
SMALLER, FASTER LADY’BACKS: Expect an emphasis on the open court this season from Arkansas, starting with preseason practices. Susie Gardner indicated the team will press more this year, and might start practice sessions working defense first to take advantage of the team’s enhanced conditioning and 14-player roster.
KRISTIN MOORE — #1
NEVER NERVOUS: Kristin Moore was 0-of-7 from the field, but neither the East Chicago, Ind., sophomore nor Susie Gardner worried for a moment when Indiana chose to foul Moore with 25 seconds to play. Leading by three, Moore stepped to the line and calmly stroked two perfect free throws for a 52-47 lead. Postgame, Gardner told the media she had substituted Moore for Ruby Vaden with 27 seconds left for that very reason.
MOORE ALSO BREAKS ARENA STEAL RECORD: Kristen Moore’s eight steals broke the previous mark of seven at Bud Walton Arena set by Stephanie Bloomer back in 1994 versus Oral Roberts.
CAREER HIGH STEALS, NEAR CAREER POINTS: While the rest of the team struggled in the first half with Western Kentucky, Kristin Moore kept Arkansas in striking distance with 4-of-5 from the field. In the second half, her steals and consistent play helped lead the comeback. By the end, Moore had 17 points — two off her career best — and a whopping eight steals.
THE QUIET ONE DOING HER QUIET THING: Arkansas‘ leading rebounder through the first games of the season, Kristin Moore is providing a steady scoring hand and defensive ability in the new pressure system.
KRISTIN PEOPLES — #4
FLINT HILLS RESOURCES ISLANDER CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
PEOPLES, VAUGHN NATIONALLY RANKED: They have led the SEC the first weeks of the season, and in the first issuance of the NCAA stats on Dec. 6, Kristin Peoples (15th) and Rochelle Vaughn (31st) were ranked in the top 50 in Division I for steals per game.
CAREER BESTS ABOUND WITH WESTERN: Kristin Peoples tied two (points, 18; steals, 6), and Kristin Moore broke one (steals, 8) against Western Kentucky. Moore also missed her career scoring high by only two points with 17. Kristina Andjekovic set her early Arkansas bests with eight points and three rebounds. Danielle Allen broke her steal best with four.
PEOPLES NAMED ALL-TOURNAMENT AT TAMU-CC: Sophomore guard Kristin Peoples led Arkansas in scoring against Purdue and Idaho State, and was named to the Flint Hills Resources All-Tournament team. It is her first tournament honor of her career at Arkansas. Notable among her performance for the Thanksgiving event was five unanswered points — a three-point goal followed by a steal and two free throws when fouled on the ensuing breakaway — to ice the consolation title against Idaho State.
PEOPLES THE PLAYMAKER: Kristin Peoples had a then-season high 15 points against Idaho State, but more important hit five unanswered points in the last 90 seconds of the game to prevent any Bengal comeback. Pulling back within four points in the last two minutes of the game, Peoples cranked a three-pointer to give Arkansas a seven-point lead, 63-56. On ISU’s next possession, Peoples picked Christa Brossman for a steal and took off for the basket. Molly Hays’ foul saved the breakaway layup, but Peoples sank both free throws with 1:18 to play and a nine-point, 65-56, Arkansas lead.
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS FOR PEOPLES: Kristin Peoples had one of her best offensive games with 4-of-5 from the field, 2-of-2 from the trey and 4-of-5 at the line to lead Arkansas with 14 points against #13 Purdue. The downside was only two assists against a season-high nine turnovers.
KRISTINA ANDJELKOVIC — #11
SEASON, CAREER BESTS WITH WESTERN: Kristina Andjekovic was Arkansas‘ top player off the bench against Western Kentucky, scoring eight points off 3-of-4 from the field with three rebounds and a steal in only 11 minutes played.
KEEP YOUR CH(K)RISTINA’S STRAIGHT: Joining Arkansas’ Kristins are a pair of Christina’s — two-sport freshman Christina Lawrence and junior college transfer Kristina Andjelkovic. While the first names sound the same, take a little time to work on your Serbian — an-JELL-koh-VITCH.
SHEREE THOMPSON — #12
IF YOU SEE ONLY ONE BLOCK THIS SEASON . . .: Arkansas had only one block against Oregon, but Sheree Thompson’s all-ball rejection of 6-0 Duck forward BLANK with one second left to play proved the game-winner for the Lady Razorbacks.
DON’T BENCH HER (MAYBE): Sheree Thompson’s fast start on the year faded in games four through seven, resulting in the redshirt junior transfer losing her starting position at Memphis. The 5-10 open-court specialist responded by hitting 5-of-5 to start the game. Regaining her starting spot with ULL, Thompson picked up where she left off with 9-of-12 from the field, five assists and four steals and finished with a new season/career high of 20 points.
THE BASF OF GUARDS: Sheree Thompson doesn’t make the Arkansas defense, she makes the defense work better. In her first two games, the junior college transfer has shown exactly what Arkansas missed last season with her sidelined due to ACL surgery. Averaging 5.5 steals, 4.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 5.5 points in the first two games, Thompson’s open-court skills include the classic "things that don’t show up on the box score." Several times, her trap or her scramble move led to a turnover that either wasn’t creditable as a steal or went to the player who possessed the ball.
THOMPSON PICKS UP ANOTHER BEST: Sheree Thompson dished out eight assists for a new career high in the win over Idaho State, and with her nine points against the Bengals came close to her first double. The eight assists is a team best this season.
CLASS RECORD TIED FOR THOMPSON: Sheree Thompson’s eight steals — six in the first half alone — against Centenary tied the UA junior class record for steals. Angela Davis set the mark with eight back in 1991.
DANIELLE ALLEN — #14
CAREER BESTS ABOUND WITH WESTERN: Along with several other players notching bests, Danielle Allen broke her steal best with four.
NOT A BAD 45 MINUTES: Through the first two games of her sophomore year, Danielle Allen has scored 29 points in 45 minutes played with 11 rebounds. Last year, in 27 games and 247 minutes, the 6-0 forward had 30 points.
CAREER HIGH BOARDS FOR ALLEN: With a near double-double of nine points and in rebounds, Danielle Allen broke her freshman best for rebounds (6) against Centenary.
30 POINTS IN A SEASON, 20 POINTS IN A NIGHT: By the end of the first half, sophomore Danielle Allen had more than surpassed her freshman season high of five points with eight against Alabama State. Five minutes into the second half, Allen scored eight of Arkansas‘ opening 10 points, and had tripled her career best. With a total of 20 points off 9-of-11 from the field, Allen scored in one game 2/3rds of what she amassed in 27 games as a freshman.
THINGS YOU LEARN LATE OFTEN MATTER THE MOST: Missing from Danielle Allen’s press guide bio was her participation with USA Basketball at the 2002 Basketball Youth Development Festival. Allen played for the silver medal-winning South team, seeing action in all five games of the event.
ALLISON SINGLETON — #15
NOT YOUR AVERAGE RUDY STORY: While it’s true that Allison Singleton is living out her dream season as a senior after three years as a manager for the Lady’Backs, the 5-5 guard isn’t a Rudy-like last game of the season fluke for playing time. Seeing court time in two of the first four games this year, Susie Gardner looked down the bench for Singleton at crunch time late in the game against Idaho State for a defensive spark.
ROCHELLE VAUGHN — #21
EFFICIENCY AT THE POINT: Rochelle Vaughn tied the team best for assists in a game against La-Lafayette with eight, but had the best assist-to-turnover ratio of the year with 8:1 — a big part of Arkansas‘ 26-to-11 ratio.
PEOPLES, VAUGHN NATIONALLY RANKED: They have led the SEC the first weeks of the season, and in the first issuance of the NCAA stats on Dec. 6, Kristin Peoples (15th) and Rochelle Vaughn (31st) were ranked in the top 50 in Division I for steals per game.
VAUGHN GETS FIRST CONVENTIONAL DOUBLE: Rochelle Vaughn picked up her second career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds at Memphis. This is the first double of the year for any Lady Razorback. The junior guard made her first double the hard way with assists — 11 points, 10 assists vs. Georgia last year.
WKU GAME WINNER TO ROCHELLE VAUGHN: With the game tied at 79-79 against Western Kentucky, Rochelle Vaughn took a short pass from Kristin Peoples, cut into the lane and stroked the game winner with 16 seconds left in the contest.
TRIPLE IN SIGHT: Rochelle Vaughn got within striking distance of a triple-double in the Athletes in Action game, hitting 10 points with eight rebounds and six assists. She hit the eight rebound mark midway through the second half, making it seem she’d at least come away with the double. For her career, Vaughn has a double-double with points and assists, but has not had the rebound double. She had 11 points with 10 assists in last year’s win over Georgia.
APRIL SEGGEBRUCH — #22
ALL AROUND GAME FOR SEGGEBRUCH: April Seggebruch came off the bench for five points, but her near-career high five rebounds, career tying four steals and two assists gave the senior guard one of her better all-around performances in 25 minutes against Alabama State. Notable was her three-pointer, Arkansas‘ final trey attempt of the night, which avoided a school-record tying mark for long range futility (Arkansas has been 0-for on threes in three games all-time).
MELISSA HOBBS — #23
REMEMBER, HOBBS ON ICE UNTIL DECEMBER: The Red-White Game was the last time fans will see Melissa Hobbs on the court until the Louisiana-Lafayette game on Dec. 16. The midterm transfer from Colorado is eligible after the end of the fall semester.
BRITTANY VAUGHN — #25
SEPARATE YOUR VAUGHNS: Sisters Rochelle and Brittney Vaughn suit up for the Lady Razorbacks this season, and while freshman Brittney is wearing her junior sister Rochelle’s rookie season number (25) they are very different personalities on and off the court.
CHRISTINA LAWRENCE — #32
LAWRENCE TO PLAY VOLLEYBALL FULLTIME: After spending the fall practicing with the Lady Razorback basketball team, Christina Lawerence decided to devote full-time to volleyball at the end of the semester. Lawrence plans to return to volleyball practice during the spring semester to prepare for the 10-time SEC Western Division champion volleyball team’s spring tournaments.
PLAYING TIME IN SECOND GAME: Christina Lawrence signed to be a two-sport athlete at Arkansas, but a high school injury led to her redshirting the volleyball season this fall. She has touched the court in game two for the Lady’Back basketball team, picking up four minutes and some shots against Centenary.
SARAH PFEIFER — #33
DON’T DISRESPECT HER: As a freshman, La-Lafayette sagged off Sarah Pfeifer and dared her to shoot. It worked that night, but as a redshirt sophomore, Pfeifer took ULL’s defensive decision personally. "I felt like they were disrespecting me," she said after the game, and she stepped up to hit 9-of-12 attempts for a season/career high of 19 points.
EFFICIENCY IN THE POST: Sarah Pfeifer turned in 16 minutes against La-Lafayette and scored 19 points off 9-of-12 from the field.
SHOULDER LIMITS PFEIFER’S TIME: Redshirt sophomore Sarah Pfeifer is having trouble with her non-surgery shoulder, and the staff plans to limit her practice contact to enhance her playing time over the next weeks.
A ONE-TWO COMBO AT FOUR: Sarah Pfeifer came off the bench to score 17 points with seven rebounds against Everyone’s Internet as Danielle Allen had eight points and eight rebounds as the starter. The pair of sophomores could become a dynamic duo at the high post this season. In the Red-White Game, scoring was reversed with Allen turning in 23 points and Pfeifer had 12.
ADRIENNE BUSH — #44
EARLY BEST WITH WESTERN: After not playing since the season opener, Adrienne Bush worked her way into the Western Kentucky game and did more than create defensive mayhem. The senior guard known for her tough defense provided some timely offense with six points — 1-of-2 from the field and drawing three shooting fouls hit 4-of-6 at the line.
NOT THE START ON THE SEASON YOU WANT: Adrienne Bush didn’t last a minute in the season opener, hitting the court hard against Alabama State after some rough contact in the lane. The concussion she suffered sidelined her for the Centenary game and limited her practice time for the next week.
RUBY VADEN — #55
DARTH VADEN STRIKES: The Memphis Lady Tigers were helpless when Ruby Vaden went on an open-court scoring spree in the early second half. Following a Rochelle Vaughn fast-break three-pointer, Vaden hit four straight layups to push Arkansas to a 13-point lead with 15:20 in play. After a Danielle Allen layup, Vaden resumed her attack with two more layups. By the time she was through, Vaden had scored 12 points of a 19-2 run to build a 21-point, 51-30, lead with 13 minutes to play.
THE FORCE WAS NOT WITH HER THROWS: While Ruby Vaden rocked the Roane Fieldhouse on the fast-break, the 6-3 junior suffered at the free throw line. Her 0-of-9 night was part of a 8-of-23 evening for the Lady’Backs.
MODEL OF EFFICIENCY: Ruby Vaden came off the bench to score 18 points in only 13 minutes off 8-of-11 from the floor against Centenary.
VADEN VOTED PRESEASON ALL-SEC: Junior post Ruby Vaden was voted second team all-SEC in the first-ever SEC preseason all-conference team. Voted on by the coaches prior to the start of the annual media day, Vaden was one of 17 players named to the preseason squad.
RECRUITING CLASS OF 2005
Angleton, Texas, guard-forward Ayana Brereton has signed her National Letter of Intent to play women’s basketball at the University of Arkansas. Considered one of the top basketball athletes in the state of Texas, the 5-10 swing forward is ranked 14th among all Texas seniors according TexasHoops.com, she was one of three top 20 players to leave the state of Texas according to the recruiting website. She helped lead Angleton to the regional quarterfinals last season and a 26-5 record for head coach Melissa Hernandez. Her AAU team, the Houston Hotshots, came home this summer with a pair of national trophies, the 2004 BCI national championship and the AAU national championship runners-up. Brereton averaged 15 ppg and 7.8 rpg at forward for the Ladycats as a junior. Her sophomore season she averaged 13.7 ppg, 7 rpg and 2.4 steals as the Ladycats went 30-4 in 2003, captured the district championship and reached the state semifinals She was a double-digit scorer even as a freshman with 10 ppg and 6.3 rpg in 2002 for another state semifinal finish by the Ladycats. The most valuable player for Brazoria County last season, Brereton is a two-time District 24-4A defensive player of the year and three-time all-district. The district’s newcomer of the year her freshman season, she’s also a three-time academic all-district selection. Named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association 2004 all-state team and second-team all-state by the TABC as a junior, she’s a three-time all-region pick by TABC. Great two-sport athlete, Brereton was the Region III 4-A runner-up in both long jump and triple jump last year, and posted junior season bests of 18-7 _ for the long and 40-4 ¬ for the triple jump. At the UIL state meet, she was the state runner-up in the triple jump and third in the long. One of only two athletes to break the 40-foot mark at the state meet in the triple, it looked like Brereton had the state title until she was passed on the second-to-last round. Her triple jump best improved two feet last season, and she heads into the spring as one of the favorites to take the state triple jump title for Class AAAA.
Blytheville forward Whitney Jones signed with Arkansas on the final day of the early signing period. The 6-0 forward joins 5-10 swing guard Ayana Brereton of Angleton, Texas, in Gardner’s 2005 recruiting class. Averaging 21 ppg in the first games of her senior season, Jones turned in 17 ppg and 11 rpg as a junior for head coach Melissa Young at Blytheville. Jones comes from an athletic family, and becomes the first daughter of a Lady Razorback to sign at Arkansas in women’s basketball. Her mother, Diann Ousley Jones, was the first track and field national champion for the Lady’Backs, taking the national indoor 600-yard championship in 1979. Her mark of 1:21.22 remains the school record for the retired event. Jones’ oldest sister, Wendlyn, played in the Final Four last season for LSU and is a returning junior starter for the second-ranked Lady Tigers. Sister Audrey currently plays for Xavier of New Orleans. Jones ran track her sophomore season for the Chickasaws, finishing third in the 100 meters at the Eastern Conference meet in 2003.
MISCELLANEOUS TEAM NOTES
THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Fayetteville, Ark., ranks as the 14th toughest road trip in Division I women’s basketball according to Louisiana Tech’s annual survey of home court winning percentage. Arkansas has a 79.94% winning mark in Fayetteville, and is the third toughest home court in the Southeastern Conference. Ruston, La., is No. 1 at 94.51%, followed by Knoxville, Tenn., at 91.37%. Oxford, Miss., is ranked 11th, and second in the SEC. Notable tough towns behind Fayetteville: Athens, Ga. (22nd), Springfield, Mo. (28th),
SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE — STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE TOP 20: Arkansas’ schedule gets the #19 spot on the preseason RPI strength of schedule issued by Rich Summerville and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Summerville’s RPI — considered for years one of the most accurate predictors of the NCAA committee’s own rating percentage index — has Arkansas at 19th thanks in part to the Lady’Backs facing the No. 1 RPI Tennessee Lady Vols and the #7 RPI LSU Tigers twice this season. In fact, half of the SEC is in the top 25: 1) UT, 5) Florida, 7) LSU, 9) Auburn, 18) Miss State, 19) Arkansas, 25) Alabama. Rounding out the league: 31) Vanderbilt, 37) Georgia, 39) Ole Miss, 48) South Carolina, 54) Kentucky.
PRESEASON SEC POLL HAS ARKANSAS TIED FOR NINTH: The Lady Razorbacks were voted ninth in the preseason media poll conducted at the annual SEC Media Days. There were 11 media voters that gave both Arkansas and Alabama 101 points each in the balloting. Tennessee was the near-consensus pick at No. 1 with nine first place votes and 13 overall. LSU had the other two first place votes and 23. Vanderbilt was third, Georgia fourth, Auburn fifth and Florida sixth. Ole Miss and Miss State tied for seventh at 80 each. Kentucky and South Carolina rounded out the poll.
SHAMEKA CHRISTON UPDATE: The 2004 SEC Player of the Year and 2004 WNBA Rookie Team member Shameka Christon has taken her game overseas. After helping the New York Liberty into the WNBA playoffs, Christon has joined the defending Women’s Division I champion of the Israeli pro league, Elizur Ramla. Christon is competing with fellow Liberty teammate Crystal Robinson. Four games into the Israeli league’s season (as of Nov. 15), Christon is the team’s No. 2 scorer with 16.2 ppg, turning in 29 to lead Elizur Ramla to a 44-point rout of Maccabi Ashdod on Nov. 15.
NEXT LUNCHEON JAN. 10: Susie Gardner hosts the Lady’Back basketball luncheons at the Clarion Inn in Fayetteville (I-540, exit 62). Luncheons are $8.50, and start at 11:30 a.m. The luncheons will be on Mondays during the season this year. Coach Gardner and the staff invites you out to learn more about the team. Other upcoming luncheon dates are Jan. 31, Feb, 14 and Feb. 28. Call Chris Pohl at 575-7312 or email@example.com for more information.
IT’S ON LADYBACKS.COM: Video highlights from each pre-game press conference, after each game at Walton Arena and clips from the coaches’ luncheons can be viewed daily at LADYBACKS.COM. The premium video content is free during this first season of the new and improved LADYBACKS.COM for our ALL-ACCESS subscribers. We encourage media to sign up for the ALL-ACCESS package and to utilize the posted clips and quotes.
PHOTO PLATFORM ACCESS VIA LADYBACKS.COM: Media needing high resolution images — action and mug shots — of Lady Razorback athletes can download them via LADYBACKS.COM. Please contact Bill Smith or any member of the Women’s Communication Office for instructions on how to access the high resolution (1.5 – 2.0 mb) versions of all website images.
LADY RAZORBACK TV: The Women’s Athletics Department begins its second season with a department-wide television magazine hosted by the Lady Razorback head coaches. The show airs across the state at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Lady Razorback TV airs in northwest Arkansas on KPBI, Fox 46-15, and in Little Rock on KWPF, the WB television affiliate. The show re-airs on Sunday mornings in northwest Arkansas on KFDF, UPN, at 11:00 a.m and in central Arkansas on KYPX, the Pax television affiliate, a 11:30 p.m. Lady Razorback TV is brought to you by Adidas, Tyson, CRI and the Lady Razorback Foundation.
TURN YOUR RADIO ON: Welcome back to the Lady Razorback Radio Network for the 16th consecutive season. All Arkansas women’s basketball games are broadcast home and road over the statewide LRRN, as well as on the internet via LADYBACKS.COM. Making his debut this season as the play-by-play voice of the Lady Razorbacks is Preston Lewis. Returning for his 16th year of color for the Lady’Backs is Bill Smith.
KBNV 90.1 FM Fayetteville/Springdale/Rogers/Bentonville
KABZ 103.7 FM Little Rock/Central Arkansas
KHOZ 900 AM Harrison
Check your local affiliate for updates on start times or occasional tape delays for local programing.