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Career nights all around as Arkansas opens with win at SMU 73-63

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Career nights all around as Arkansas opens with win at SMU 73-63

DALLAS – Junior Kristin Peoples scored a career high 21 points and freshman Whitney Jones led all scorers with 22 as the University of Arkansas opened its season with a road victory over Southern Methodist, 73-63. The Lady Razorbacks (1-0) picked up a career-high 11 rebounds and a career-tying eight points from senior Kristina Andjelkovic off the bench. “Everybody has to do something, and everyone did something big tonight,” head coach Susie Gardner said. “We had a lot of people step up tonight.” Arkansas led almost the entire game, but a timely three-pointer from Katie Gross and a three-point play by Janielle Dobbs put SMU (1-2) into the lead in the final four minutes of the game. Jones’ pair of free throws, then a layup by Jones after her own steal put Arkansas back ahead, 61-60, but Colli’s three-pointer was matched by a three-point play from Jones. “She (Jones) played tonight like she practices,” Gardner said. “My biggest concern was that she was defending Dodds, but she stepped up tonight.” SMU’s leading scorer, Dodds had only four points at half and fouled out of the game with only 13 points. “My whole game was trying to keep their player from getting her 17 points,” Jones said. “The rest was just letting the game come to me.” Her 22 points is believed to be the most by a freshman in her inaugural game since a 20-point performance by Karyn Karlin. “She was clutch especially at the end of the game,” Peoples said of Jones. Sheree Thompson’s steal with 1:31 proved the difference maker leading to a 18-foot jumper from Andjelovic. “That was a huge shot,” Gardner said. “We needed every player to step up tonight, I just felt like I did my part,” Andjekovic said. Julie Colli’s second-half opening three-pointer gave the former Vanderbilt Commodore a 10-point run against Arkansas over the span of intermission, cutting the lead to two, 32-30. Arkansas responded with an 8-3 spurt to regain momentum, 40-33, with 16 minutes left. The game became a battle in the post for the next minutes as Jones and Dodds traded buckets until the Mustangs found Colli for five unanswered points to pull within five, 44-42, with 11:42 to play. A steal by SMU led to a 22-footer from Sharee Shepherd gave the Mustangs their first lead since the opening minute, 45-44, with 11:28 to play. Peoples took back the lead on the ensuing possession. Neither team could take control as the squads traded buckets and fouls for the next four minutes until four straight free throws from SMU put the Mustangs back ahead, 54-53, with 7:02 left. Peoples tied the game with a free throw at 54-54 before Rochelle Vaughn’s three-pointer put Arkansas back in front, 57-54, with five to play. During that period, Arkansas hit only one of six free throw attempts that could have extended the Lady’Back lead. SMU took advantage as Dodds tied the game with a three-point play with 4:06, then a rainbow three-pointer on the next possession by Gross gave the Mustangs their largest lead of the game, 60-57, with 3:40 to play. After seeing SMU score off the opening tip, Peoples put Arkansas ahead for the rest of the first half with a five points of her own and a pair of full-court assists to Whitney Jones for a 9-2 lead. Arkansas used its defense to build a 10-point lead midway through the first half, holding SMU scoreless for 6:05 to take a 22-12 lead with 6:15 left in the period. Colli sparked the Mustangs with back-to-back three pointers sandwiched around a free throw for a 7-2 run to pull SMU within three, 30-27. A pair of free throws from Kristina Andjelkovic sent the teams into the locker room at 32-27. The Lady’Backs used 16 first half turnovers by SMU to score 18 of their 32 points, and helped overcome a poor shooting opening. Arkansas also got 17 points from Rochelle Vaughn who was returning home to the Dallas area. Colli led SMU with 20 as Dobbs had 13 with 14 rebounds. Arkansas returns to Fayetteville for its home opener on Monday evening with Memphis at 7 p.m.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)