NASHVILLE – Junior Lauren Ervin scored 14 points to lead three players in double digits as the University of Arkansas defeated Lipscomb, 77-39, at Allen Arena.
It was a dominating defensive effort that moved Arkansas to 3-0 on the season while the Lady Bisons lost their home opener.
“Our defense is leading the way right now, but that’s to be expected at this part of the year,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “We were quicker than them, and we got out in front of them a lot. But we still had to finish those breakaways, and tonight we did a better job of that.”
Arkansas stays in the central Tennessee area to face Austin Peay (1-1) tonight at 5:15 p.m. in nearby Clarksville. The game marks the first contest for Arkansas head coach Susie Gardner at her former school.
“It was very important that we got a lot of minutes for a lot of players because we have another road game in less than 24 hours,” Gardner said.
A 20-0 run spanning the end of the first half the start of the second by the Lady’Backs driven by Ervin and Sarah Pfeifer settled the outcome just after intermission. Ervin and Sarah Pfeifer drove the scoring with 14 of the 20-point run.
Sophomore Whitney Jones picked up for Ervin when the junior stat down for the night with 13 points, 11 in the second half.
“Whitney showed confidence in her shot tonight and did a good job down the stretch,” Gardner said.
The Lady’Backs led by as many as 40 just before the final buzzer.
After a couple of tough game games handling the basketball, Arkansas turned the tables on an opponent by forcing 33 turnovers and converting them into 41 of the 77 points scored. The Lady’Backs allowed only two points off its 14 turnovers to Lipcomb.
“A lot of that starts with the point guard and Brittney (Vaughn) did a better job of controlling the tempo tonight,” Gardner said.
Trading leads for the opening minutes, Arkansas went to its bench to take control of the game. A three-pointer and layup from Donica Cosby followed by a three-pointer and long two-pointer from Dominique Washington drove a 12-3 run to put Arkansas up by double digits for the first time, 25-14, with eight minutes left in the first half.
Arkansas defense clamped down on Lipscomb, holding the Lady Bisons scoreless the final 11:28 of the first half. While Arkansas forced 15 first half turnovers and blocked six Lipscomb shots, the Lady’Backs weren’t able to stretch the score more than 10 points at halftime, 35-14. Ervin led the Lady’Backs with 12 first-half points.
“That streak was the difference in the game,” Gardner said. “Our defense came out and dominated them as we expected.”
Freshman Toia McGowan came off the bench for Lipscomb to lead all scorers with 15 points.
Along with Ervin and Jones, Arkansas got 10 points from Washington to round out the double digit scorers.