FAYETTEVILLE – Behind 28 points from senior Shameka Christon and a career-high 12 assists from sophomore guard Rochelle Vaughn, the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback basketball team upset the 16th-ranked University of Georgia Bulldogs, 71-63, at Bud Walton Arena on Sunday afternoon in front of a season high crowd of 5,807 fans.
The win improves the Lady Razorbacks to 14-7 overall on the year and 3-5 in SEC play, while Georgia falls to 16-6 overall and 5-4 in conference action.
“This win is big for our players,” Arkansas head coach Susie Gardner said. “Knowing they can win a close game is essential. You either keep fighting or you give up and we chose to keep fighting and became more consistent.”
“This game is a dream for Arkansas,” Georgia head coach Andy Landers said. “From a defensive standpoint they played very well.”
Christon’s 28 points moved her to number two all-time in career scoring, surpassing Arkansas’ only Kodak All-American, Delmonica DeHorney. Christon now has 1,788 points for her career.
Ahead by a bucket at the break, the Lady Razorbacks continued to push Georgia with solid shooting and timely rebounding. The inside-out combination of Christon and Vaughn in the second opened up a seven-point Arkansas lead with 15 minutes to play, the largest lead by either team.
Arkansas continued to lead as the clock approached 10 minutes, but Georgia’s Cori Chambers bombed a three from the left side to pull the bulldogs within three. A Christon fade away jumper put Arkansas up by five once again, but Sherill Baker then torched the nets for another Georgia three to make it a two point game at 10 minutes. Similar to the events of the first half, Georgia tied the game just past midway through the period, this time on a Janese Hardrick three pointer from the left corner.
Following a media timeout with 7:03 minutes to play, Arkansas went on a 7-2 run to give the Lady Razorbacks another five-point lead. The Lady Bulldogs came straight back with five straight of its own to tie the game for the sixth time at 62.
Arkansas was able to stretch its lead again to four points, 66-62, thanks to a pair of Christon free throws and a layup, then watched Georgia struggle from the charity stripe for the first time in the contest as it missed three of its final four free tosses to finish the contest, 13-19.
The Lady Razorbacks also struggled from the line as they hit just 18 for 31 for the game, but did manage to hit one of two on two consecutive trips to the line to ice the game in the final moments.
The Lady Razorbacks jumped on top of their ranked foe with an opening three-pointer by senior Shanna Harmon who was making her first start of the season. The shot from the top of the key ripped the net and started a chain of good shooting for the Lady’Backs. Arkansas’ outside shot allowed it to gain a five-point advantage early, but the veteran Lady Bulldog squad managed to tie the game at 15 on a Christi Thomas 13-foot jumper with 10:38 in the half.
Arkansas took another lead, but Georgia came storming back with nine-unanswered points to take a 24-19 lead as the clocked dipped under seven minutes. Resembling a heavyweight title fight, both teams traded blows throughout the closing moments of the first half with April Seggebruch knotting the game once again at 33 with 35 seconds to go and Kristin Moore hitting a layup at the buzzer to give the Lady Razorbacks a 35-33 halftime lead.
Christon led all scorers with 28, followed by teammates Moore and Vaughn with 14 and 11, respectively. Thomas led the Bulldogs with 14 and Hardrick and Chambers each tallied 10. Vaughn also notched the first double-double of her career with 12 assists. For Christon, her night was highlighted not just by the win, but her 28 points moved her to second all-time on Arkansas’ career scoring list.
“We weren’t surprised by Christon’s performance,” Landers said. “That’s the player she is. I was disappointed in our inability to guard her.”
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Thursday, Feb. 12, when they travel to Baton Rouge, La., to take on the LSU Tigers at 7:00 p.m.