FAYETTEVILLE – Junior Sarah Pfeifer scored 14 points to lead the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback basketball team, but strong rebounding by the Ole Miss Lady Rebels allowed it to pick up a tough Southeastern Conference road win at Bud Walton Arena on Sunday afternoon, 75-52 despite a season high crowd of 5,579.
The loss drops the Lady Razorbacks to 13-7 on the season and 2-6 in SEC play while Ole Miss improves to 15-5 and 5-2 in conference action.
“We had a great shootaround and three great days of practice,” Arkansas head coach Susie Gardner said. “I don’t think that we could have been more prepared for a game. I had a great feeling before the game. I don’t know how we shot 29 percent. We didn’t take very many bad shots.”
“We had a good game plan, but didn’t do what we needed to do to win,” Arkansas guard Adrienne Bush said. “For us to go out and not execute just makes you sick to your stomach.”
“Awfully proud of our team,” Ole Miss head coach Carol Ross said. “It was a typical slug fest on the road in the SEC. Arkansas continues to show character among adversity with all their injuries. We were able to defend and rebound well on the road.”
After scoring the first points of the half, Mississippi capped off a nine-point run which gave it a nine-point lead. Thanks to very poor Arkansas shooting, the Rebels managed to build a 13-point cushion with 11 minutes to play. A Melissa Hobbs jumper from the left corner brought Arkansas back to within nine for the first time since the beginning of the seocnd half, but an Ole Miss layup once again put Arkansas down by double digits.
The Lady Rebels controlled the tempo thanks to their double-digit lead and despite Arkansas’ furious attempts to notch up the pressure and the tempo, Ole Miss was able to slow the contest down with a half-court game that ate precious time off the clock.
It was a slow start for both teams as the two sides hit just seven of the game’s first 33 shots from the floor through 10 minutes of action. In fact, both squads went through a five-minute scoring lull with only two points midway through the period.
Down by five for a good portion of the half, Arkansas came back with a pair of tough baskets from Pfeifer and Danielle Allen to make it a one-point game at 3:51 in the first. An Allen free throw at 2:43 tied the game at 18, but Ole Miss retliated with seven unanswered to go into the break ahead 25-18.
“You always like to go into the locker room with momentum,” Ross said. “I did think that was an improtant stretch. Our bench is becoming a big factor.”
“I brought Sarah back in which helped us tie it,” Gardner said. “We had some defensive breakdowns over the final minutes and we didn’t step up and get that last stop.”
For the game, both teams looked abysmal as they hit just 37 and 29 percent from the floor. The major difference in the game came on the boards as Mississippi pulled down 23 more of the glass including 18 on the offensive end of the floor. Further hurting Arkansas’ chances at a comeback was when Pfeifer fouled out of the contest with 2:29 remaining.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Thursday, February 3 when they travel to Auburn, Ala., to take on the Auburn Tigers in more Southeastern Conference women’s basketball action. For more information about Lady Razorback basketball or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.