TULSA – Junior Brittney Vaughn made Arkansas history but freshman Donica Cosby gave the Lady Razorbacks victory in a 78-67 decision over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at the Reynolds Center.
The 25th-ranked Lady’Backs move to 11-1 on the season while Tulsa drops to 4-6.
Vaughn had 14 assists, but none were bigger than the ones to Cosby down the stretch for Arkansas. The freshman finished with 21 points to lead all scorers.
“Donica has no fear and I’m confident in her,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “It was getting a little physical in there, and it was good to see several players step up at the end of the game.”
Arkansas kept control of the tempo until midway through the second half when a 10-2 run by the Golden Hurricane brought Tulsa to within three, 56-53, with seven minutes left.
“We realized that as long as we kept playing hard we were in the game,” Vaughn said.
That’s when Cosby decided she had had enough. Her three-pointer broke a five-minute scoring drought for the Lady’Backs, but TU’s Jillian Robbins answered to keep the margin at three, 59-56.
An inbound jumper from Robbins brought it to one, 59-58, and Tulsa kept it at one until Cosby drained back-to-back three-pointers, the second one asking for the ball from Vaughn, to push Arkansas to a 67-60 spread.
“The team needed a lift, and that’s my shot,” Cosby said.
It became an 11-point run by Cosby as she lifted Arkansas back into control of the game. She did her damage in only 99 seconds. Forced to foul, Tulsa could only watch as the Lady’Backs calmly went to the line to regain their double-digit lead.
An even game in the early minutes, Arkansas turned up its defensive pressure to build an eight-point lead, 18-10, after the second of two layups from Whitney Jones.
Unlike the Wednesday game against SMU when the Lady’Backs opened the game cold, Arkansas blistered the nets for over 50% for most of the first half.
Combined with relentless half-court man-to-man pressure on the TU guards, Arkansas built a 10-point lead early and held it to halftime, 40-29.
Tulsa had 12 turnovers in the first half, leading to 19 points off turnovers for the Lady’Backs. Meanwhile, the Golden Hurricane could force only five mistakes out of Arkansas and got zero points off turnovers.
Vaughn was a key with eight assists by half and only two turnovers. With her second assist in the second half, an inside pass to Ervin, she picked up her 10th assist and became the first Lady’Back to have three straight games with double-digit assists.
That defensive effort was led by Charity Ford, who finished the night with a career high 14 points.
“Charity is a huge difference for us, and she’s someone that isn’t getting a lot of attention,” Gardner said.
Ervin also had 14 points for Arkansas, missing another double-double game by one rebound to lead Arkansas with nine.
Robbins led Tulsa with 17 points and 15 rebounds.
The Lady’Backs head to Memphis for a Monday night game at 7 p.m. against the Tigers at the Elma Rohn Field House.