FAYETTEVILLE – Junior Lauren Ervin turned in season highs of 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks to an 80-70 win over Wichita State at Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas continues undefeated at 5-0 thanks to a powerful inside game from Ervin and senior substitute Sarah Pfeifer. A starter in the first four game, Pfeifer came off the bench to spark the Lady’Backs with 15 points.
“Lauren had a huge game and Sarah was her usual solid self,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “Our defense got us started, and the offense came through.”
The Lady’Backs had a season high 80 points, thanks in part to Dominique Washington’s 14 points off the bench. Washington hit her first three three-point attempts, opening up the lane for the Arkansas posts.
“She’s tough, and if she can keep playing defense like that they (Arkansas) will be hard to stop,” WSU head coach Jane Albright said.
While Arkansas had its best offensive game of the year, shooting 42.6% from the field, defense was still the key as the Lady’Backs forced 29 turnovers from WSU and converted them into 31 points.
Along with the second double-double of her Arkansas career, Ervin also had four blocked shots and three steals.
Arkansas held off WSU runs in the second half with runs of its own. The Shockers led only once in the first half, and that led to a 10-0 run by the Lady’Backs off four straight layups from turnovers. After a WSU bucket, Washington followed with back-to-back three-pointers to push Arkansas to a 16-point spread.
Wichita got its own rally at the end of the first and start of the second as Kyre Kinder went on a personal 9-1 run to cut the Lady’Back lead to 44-37 with 18:30 to play. WSU got as close as four, 50-46, with 13 left, but timely baskets from Pfeifer turned Arkansas’ offense back around.
The Lady’Backs went with a new starting lineup that put more emphasis on defense, and while Pfeifer came off the bench in the scheme was pleased with the results.
“We liked it because it caused the game to have an uptempo start,” Pfeifer said. “It got us going early and gave us confidence. This was the first game that we really felt good about the win.”
Kinder led four Shockers in double digits with 17 points, followed by Lexee McDonnell with 11 and 10 each from Taylor Steven and Kiki Stephens.
Arkansas packs its bags for the Rainbow Wahine Classic, departing Fayetteville for Hawai’i on Tuesday. The Lady’Backs open on Friday evening with Denver at 7:20 p.m. central time.