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Defense drives Arkansas to historic victory at MSU

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Defense drives Arkansas to historic victory at MSU

STARKVILLE, Miss. – The 15th Southeastern Conference opener for Arkansas proved to be senior night as Kristin Moore scored a season high 15 points with 10 rebounds to lead the Lady Razorbacks to a historic victory over Miss State, .Arkansas, 9-5, won its first SEC road opener in school history by holding MSU, 5-9, to the fewest points in the history of the series. The Lady’Backs had lost 14 straight road SEC openers since joining the league in 1992. “It was a good win for our program and a needed win for our program,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “We played solid defense and we rebounded exceptionally well tonight.” Fellow seniors Rochelle Vaughn (9) and Adrienne Bush (6) had season highs for rebounds, while senior Melissa Hobbs had a career high for a SEC game with nine points. Arkansas pounded the glass against MSU with a 42-26 advantage, a dominating 23-5 on the offensive glass. Using a punishing defensive attack that forced 17 first-half turnovers from the Lady Bulldogs, Arkansas built early double-digit leads, but a State rally midway through the second half made Gardner nervous. “When they were coming back, yes, I was thinking what you all were thinking,” Gardner said. “They kept coming at us, but this time we had people step up and our team did some smart things at the right time to keep control.” Coming on the heels of letting a 17-point lead get away at Florida International, Arkansas was determined to put away State early. “We were focused on defense,” Vaughn said. “Coach Gardner told us at halftime to make defense our main point.” Arkansas built its lead to 20 just after halftime, 41-21, with 16:58 left to play, but Miss State started its comeback behind a pair of field goals from Miayorka Johnson to open a 10-2 run. A Dominique Washington three-pointer with 11:05 to play stopped the Lady Bulldog rally and kept Arkansas ahead by 15, 46-31. From that point, Arkansas regained control and rebuilt its 20-point spread. Moore got Arkansas off to a quick start with the first five points of the game for Arkansas, but Miss State responded with seven of its first nine from Blessing Chekwa. Building a three-point lead, 12-9, after the first five minutes, Miss State began to lose control of the ball with repeated turnovers But Arkansas was not able to take early advantage of MSU’s misfortune, hitting only 25% from the field during the first 10 minutes of the contest. The Lady’Backs took five minutes to tie the game at 12-12, then neither team could score for the next two minutes before Arkansas launched a withering 21-2 run over the next seven minutes. Back-to-back three-pointers from Washington highlighted the run that sent Arkansas into the locker room leading 33-17. Miss State went almost 10 minutes between scores during the middle part of the half and managed only five points in the last 15 minutes of the first half. Twice in the first half State had five straight turnovers before an Arkansas miscue as the Lady’Back defense dominated. Washington finished with 14 off the bench behind Moore as Arkansas had balanced scoring with all but one player scoring in the contest. Richard led MSU with 11 points, followed with 10 for Chekwa.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)