FAYETTEVILLE – Junior Lauren Ervin scored a career high 20 points and picked up the eighth double-double of her career to lead the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback basketball team to a 71-63 win against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bud Walton Arena on Thursday evening.
The win improves the Lady Razorbacks’ record to 17-3 overall and 2-2 in Southeastern Conference play while Alabama falls to 10-10 and 0-4 in league action.
Along with Ervin’s career night in scoring, senior Brittney Vaughn matched the Bud Walton Arena record for steals in a game with eight.
“We were mainly focused with Brittney’s offensive game, but it was obvious that she is a two-way threat with her ability to get into the passing lanes and create turnovers,” said Alabama head coach Stephanie Smith.
An even game for the opening moments, Arkansas looked asthough it would blow the game open around the 15 minute mark when it went on a 13-2 run over 2:39, taking a 22-10 lead. During that stretch, Arkansas forced five Alabama turnovers with Brittney Vaughn making two steals. In fact it was Alabama’s turnovers that sparked the Lady Razorback offense for most of the half. The Crimson Tide turned the ball over 17 times in the opening 20 minutes whuch led to 16 Arkansas points.
“I was impressed with our defense tonight,” said Arkansas head coach Susie Gardner. “We forced a lot of turnovers tonight and were able to convert a lot of points off them.”
Seemingly in control of the game, the Lady Razorbacks hit a dry spell over the next five minutes which let the Crimson Tide creep back into the contest. During Arkansas’ scoring drought, Alabama netted seven points to make it a five-point game, then cut the lead down to three with just over a minute to play. A pair of late Lady Razorback buckets would increase Arkansas’ lead to seven at the break.
Undeterred by its deficit, Alabama openend the second half with a three-point basket. The Lady Razorbacks continued to struggle on the offensive end of the court and the Crimson Tide chipped away at the Arkansas lead, cutting it to as few as two with 16:37 to play.
“For a minute it sort of felt like the Mississippi State game, like déjà vu,” said Arkansas junior guard Vaughn. “Coach Gardner just kept telling us to stay hungry and keep fighting for a larger lead. It feels good to get a big win at home.”
The Crimson Tide assault continued as they matched Arkansas shot-for shot, keeping themselves in the action. Bringing the Arkansas lead down to one, Ervin scored her career high 20th point with 3:32 left on a layup to give the Lady’Backs a three point lead again. After a missed Alabama shot, Arkansas scored on a baseline layup to give itself a five point cushion with 1:31 left.
Ervin was Arkansas’ high-point scorer and rebounder with 20 and 10, but not by much as Vaughn hit for 17 including all seven of her free throws. Sophomore Whitney Jones scored 11 points. Alabama’s Kate Mastin led all scorers with 26 points and was joined by Talisha Chandler with 10 points and 11 boards.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Gainesville, Fla., to take on the Florida Gators in 2:00 p.m. contest. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to LADYBACKS.COM.