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Christons, Kristins come up big at SFA

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Christons, Kristins come up big at SFA

   NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Career games from everyone named Kristin and another 20-point day from Shameka Christon allowed the University of Arkansas to take a 79-61 victory over Stephen F. Austin in women’s college basketball at Johnson Coliseum.
     Arkansas moved to 8-2 with the win while SFA dropped to 0-9 on the season.
     Christon finished with 25 points and nine rebounds, but the key factors in the first half were freshmen point guard Kristin Peoples and sophomore post Kristin Moore.
     Moore crushed her career highs with her first double-double at Arkansas, picking up 16 points and 13 rebounds off the bench.
     Peoples turned in her second 13-point game in a row, equalling her career high scored in Arkansas’ last game. The freshman had a career high six assists.
     “Thank goodness for Kristin Moore,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “She got a lot of her points on tips and offensive rebounds, but she played the most consistent game of anyone. She kept us in the game.”
     Moore’s previous bests were seven points and seven rebounds, totals she had by halftime.
     “She had a great game, and you’ve got to keep going to a player who’s on a roll,” Christon said. “I was having a rough start, and she picked us up.”
     Arkansas’ offense ran rough most of the contest, and relied late on its defense to crush any upset thoughts from the Ladyjacks.
     “SFA played harder than we did in the first half, and we just couldn’t get it going,” Gardner said.
     Christon opened the contest with a trey to launch an 8-2 run. Killingsworth answered minutes later with seven unanswered points for SFA as the Ladyjacks took the lead by three, 13-10. Arkansas went on a 1-for-10 shooting drought during the Ladyjack rally.
     The teams exchanged small leads and seven ties over the next 10 minutes. Arkansas kept pace with the Ladyjacks thanks to eight first-half points from Moore and six from Peoples.
     For Moore, it was a season high by intermission as Arkansas’ leading scorer Christon had a quiet nine to lead the team.
     Christon’s ninth point of the first half tied the game at 32-32, but two seconds later Alex Bowman sent Shanna Harmon flying to the floor. Harmon landed on her left side, jamming her elbow and shoulder to reaggrevate her back injury.
     Harmon was transported to Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital for precautionary x-rays on her back, but the fall and her departure resulted in a 20 minute delay at the end of the first half.
     “It’s funny how life stops at moments like that,” Gardner said. “It didn’t seem that long because the whole world closed down to just me, Sean and Shanna. It didn’t seem like there was anyone else in the gym because as a coach you’re just worried about your player.”
     After the restart, SFA closed out with a 6-2 burst to take a 38-34 lead into halftime.
     “They went in with momentum, and I had to share my thoughts with the team,” Gardner said.
     Arkansas responded with their own fast start to begin the second half. A three-pointer by Peoples got the ball rolling, and a three-point play by Ruby Vaden put Arkansas ahead by two, 41-39, at 18:19. Kendria Smith tied the game for SFA, but it was the last time the Ladyjacks could tie or take the lead.
     Arkansas pulled out to leads of seven twice in the next 10 minutes, principally behind Moore on the inside. SFA closed back to a bucket both times, the final one coming at 8:15 to play, 64-61.
     The Lady’Back defense took over from that point, holding SFA scoreless and Christon came alive to join Peoples and Moore among the scoring leaders. The 15-0 run was the best of the year for Arkansas.
     LaToya Mills finished with 23 points to lead SFA and 11 rebounds. Nikki Carr added 13 and Smith 10.
     Arkansas returns to Fayetteville to begin a three-game homestand on Tuesday. The Lady’Backs host McNeese State at 7 p.m. on Dec. 30 at Bud Walton Arena.



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