BLOOMINGTON – Senior Shameka Christon led all scorers with 28 points, but it was two assists which proved the difference makers as the University of Arkansas defeated Indiana University, 78-70, in collegiate women’s basketball at Assembly Hall.
Arkansas, 7-2, got one of its best scoring games from its player of the year candidate, but against the Hoosiers, 5-4, it wasn’t her rebounding as much as it was two assists – the only two the 6-1 senior had for the night.
“We knew the second half would be one of those games that would go back and forth, but we stepped up and hit some big shots,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said.
Christon took control for the Lady’Backs down the stretch with those shots, scoring 16 of Arkansas’ 17 points for a nine minute stretch. Indiana matched Christon goal-for-goal, but when April Seggebruch’s two free throws and a stick-back by Ruby Vaden came near the five minute mark the Lady’Backs opened their largest lead at six, 66-60.
“I told the team if we stepped up and made the plays at the end of the game, we’d be alright,” Gardner said.
Indiana sliced the lead to four behind its star, Jenny DeMuth, and collapsed three players on Christon. Rather than risk her fifth foul, the senior calmly laced a pass to Vaughn on the perimeter, who drained a three-pointer for a seven-point, 71-64, lead.
The Hoosiers tried to keep pace, but Christon did it again – drawing down the defense, but this time found April Seggebruch for the three-pointer with less than a minute to ice the game.
“Coach always talks about the time to score situation, and that was the time,” Christon said. “They (Indiana) were focused on me at the end, and when three of them came to me, it left our shooters open.”
The teams traded leads the first half, with Indiana using a red-hot hand to keep pace with Arkansas.
Freshmen led the way early as Indiana’s McKay came off the bench to score nine points, but it was Arkansas’ Kristin Peoples with a career high of 11 by intermission that let the Lady’Backs lead at halftime, 37-36.
DeMuth finished with 20 points for Indiana, followed by 19 for McKay and 14 from Cyndi Valentin.
Peoples finished with 13 points for Arkansas.
The Lady’Backs are off for the holidays, returning to Fayetteville on Dec. 26 to prepare for another road game, this time on Dec. 28 at Stephen F. Austin.