HANOVER, NH – Senior Lauren Ervin led all scorers with 16 points and had her seventh double-double of the year as 23rd-ranked Arkansas defeated Delaware, 62-49, to advance to the championship round of the Blue Sky Classic.
Arkansas (13-0) faces the Marquette Golden Eagles today at Leede Arena at 6 p.m. The Golden Eagles won a stunner with a 47-foot buzzer beater over the host Dartmouth Big Green, 63-60. The game will be available as a live video stream at LADYBACKS.COM as well as on the Lady Razorback Radio Network.
The Lady’Backs never trailed in the game, but did not cruise into the tournament final as turnovers and early foul trouble resulted in a sloppy game at times.
“It was an interesting game and it wasn’t the prettiest game, but it is a win,” UA head coach Tom Collen said. “Sometimes don’t look really sharp after the break. We did what we had to win.”
The Lady’Backs used 7-0 runs at the start of each half coupled with strong defense to advance past a pesky Delaware team into the tournament final.
“We started each half fresh and we were able to push them early,” Collen said. “The key is we need to keep that intensity when we sub and we need to be able to finish the half. That’s where we let them back in.”
Ervin was limited by early fouls in the first half, but sparked the second-half opening run with four straight points to begin the 7-0 run. The quick start led Arkansas to a 15-point lead, 49-34, with just under 10 minutes to play.
The senior finished with four fouls, and her primary back-up, Sarah Pfeifer, also had four fouls.
“When those two get in foul trouble that’s a problem,” Collen said. “Their big kids were physical and we were worried that we might get in trouble with only three posts in our main rotation. It was good that we still were able to get 16 points and 13 rebounds from Lauren when she got into foul trouble.”
Defense was the difference as Arkansas held Delaware without a point for a combined six and a half minutes to end the first and start the second. For the game, Arkansas held the Blue Hens to only 31% from the field.
Neither team opened with their offense engaged as it took two and a half minutes before either team could score. Brereton’s three-pointer and a follow-up jumper started a 7-0 run by Arkansas that built to an 11- point lead, 22-11, midway through the first half.
After shooting only 20% against the Lady’Back defense for the first 10 minutes of the game, Delaware began to shoot a blue streak with five of its next seven encompassing an 8-0 run to pull back into the game.
Kyle DeHaven led the Blue Hen rally with five boards and four points as UD pulled within five, 27-22, with 2:45 left in the half.
Arkansas put the clamps back on Delaware, holding the Blue Hens scoreless the rest of the period. Unfortunately, the offense could not take advantage as a lone buzzer-beating layup by Brittney Vaughn was the only bucket managed.
Brereton scored 10 of Arkansas’ 29 first-half points, and finished with 15. Ervin had 10 rebounds by half and closed with 12 rebounds with her 16 points. Charity Ford’s 12 points all came in the second half.
Farrah Ferguson led Delaware with 12 points, followed by Corinthia Benison with 10.