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Bench leads Arkansas past Memphis 59-53

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Bench leads Arkansas past Memphis 59-53

MEMPHIS – Junior Ruby Vaden came off the bench to lead four Lady Razorbacks in double digits as the University of Arkansas built a massive lead then withstood a furious comeback to defeat the University of Memphis, 59-53, at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse in collegiate women’s basketball. Arkansas, 7-1, built a 21-point lead midway through the second half, only to see Memphis, 5-2, rally to within two points. “It was a hard game we thought it would be,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “We had different players step up at different points in the game, and we needed every single person who got minutes in the game tonight.” Along with 14 points from Vaden, Arkansas had a career-first double-double from junior Rochelle Vaughn with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Sheree Thompson and Sarah Pfeifer also came off the bench with 11 points each. A three-pointer from Vaughn opened a 19-2 run by the Lady’Backs to start the second half. Holding Memphis scoreless for the first 3:04 of the half, Vaden crushed the Lady Tigers in the halfcourt and on the break with four straight layups and a total of 12 of the 19 points in the run. By the time Victoria Crawford could manage Memphis’ second field goal of the second half at 12:47 the Lady Tigers were behind 51-30. Minutes later, Arkansas’ defense forced the Lady Tigers’ Jennifer Sullivan into her fifth personal foul. With their leading scorer on the bench, the Lady Tigers appeared done, but Memphis rallied with a 16-0 run fueled by nine from Crawford. “I was so pleased with the way the started the second half, but we had back-to-back turnovers and that got Memphis started on a run,” Gardner said. “It would have been easy for our team to have folded the tent, but we didn’t. We kept our composure and we kept playing defense.” Arkansas snapped the run with a driving layup from Pfeifer with 4:47 to play. Pfeifer’s shot came after an aggressive pick by Jamie Bradley knocked Kristin Peoples out of the game at the five minute mark. “This was a physical game, and we had some players that took some hits tonight,” Gardner said. The Lady Tigers kept coming and pulled to within two, 53-51, on a three-point play by Devin Necaise with 3:13 to play. Peoples returned to the game to pull down a pair of crucial rebounds, leading to jumpers by Thompson and Pfeifer in the final two minutes. A pair of free throws from Vaughn finished a 6-0 run to ice the game for Arkansas. Memphis’ tenacious defense gave Arkansas fits in the opening minutes as Victoria Crawford scored six of the Lady Tigers’ first eight points to build an early lead. After the first media timeout, Gardner substituted Pfeifer and Vaden, and the inside tandem launched an 11-3 run that Thompson finished with seven straight points and a 16-13 lead with 10:47 in the half. Three-point shooting kept Arkansas away from Memphis in the first half, hitting 4-of-8 from behind the arc. It was a three-pointer from April Seggebruch that sent Arkansas to the locker room with a 32-28 halftime lead. Crawford led both teams with 13 points, and went to the free throw line six times. The senior guard could have kept Memphis closer in the first half if she had not hit only 5-of-12 at the line. Crawford finished the game leading all scorers with 24 points. Necaise had 10 points to round out the Memphis scorers.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)