SAN ANTONIO – Junior Whitney Jones led all scorers with 17 points and senior Lauren Ervin had a season-high 12 rebounds as the University of Arkansas defeated University of New Orleans, 65-44, in college women’s basketball.
Arkansas, 6-0, cruised to its sixth straight win on the 2007-08 season while UNO dropped to 3-2 overall on the second day of the UTSA Thanksgiving Classic held at the University of Texas-San Antonio Convocation Center.
Jones and Ervin were both named to the all-tournament team, and the duo dominated UNO in the lane in a game that quickly became rough and tumble.
“It was a physical game, and I don’t see us really as a physical team, we’re more of a finesse team,” Collen said. “They brought it to us early, and it was good to see our team respond with physical play.”
Jones scored 13 for the Lady’Backs in an 18-5 run to close the first half and start the second building a 37-22 lead with 15 minutes left in the game.
“In a game that gets physical, you expect your most physical kids to step up,” Collen said. “Whitney’s our most physical player, and she certainly responded.”
Jones finished one shy of a double-double with nine rebounds.
During Jones’ scoring spree, Ervin ruled the defensive lane with rebounds and two blocks, including a massive rejection that caromed past halfcourt to start a fast-break layup by Charity Ford.
Ervin closed with eight points to go with her 12 rebounds. The senior post added three blocks and three steals.
Arkansas’ post play commanded the floor as Jones, Ervin and sixth-player Sarah Pfeifer combined for 38 points and Arkansas scored 34 of its 51 field goal points from the lane.
Defensively, Arkansas held UNO to only five points in the opening 10 minutes of the second half building a lead to 21, 46-25. The Lady’Backs extended the spread to a high of 24 with just over one minute left. For the game, Arkansas held UNO to only 25% from the field as the Privateers became the fifth team held under 50 points by the Lady’Backs this season.
The game started more on UNO’s pace as the Privateers got Arkansas into early foul trouble.
Three straight field goals from Ayana Brereton allowed Arkansas to keep just ahead of UNO to open the game. The Privateers tried to exploit gaps in the Lady”Back defense with aggressive drives to the basket. It managed to get Brereton to the bench with early foul trouble, and free throws resulted in UNO tying the game at 8-8.
“They got us in serious foul trouble early,” Collen said. “It’s tough to look down the bench and see your starters out. We went with the big lineup with Sarah playing a lot of the three position and that gave us the spark we needed.”
Ervin stepped in to take control of the lane with her defense and rebounding. Pulling down seven boards in the first 10 minutes of the game, the 6-3 senior’s stickback and a three-point play from Pfeifer keyed a 9-0 run to push Arkansas to a 17-8 lead.
The Privateers made a small rally before back-to-back inside drives by Jones put Arkansas back ahead by nine, 23-14.
Three-pointers from Helms and Frazier capped a 9-3 run by UNO to get back within three, 23-20, with three minutes left in the first half. Arkansas’ offense sputtered, and it appeared momentarily that the Privateers could take their first lead of the game.
But Jones and Ervin would not be denied. In the final minute, a three-point play from Jones, a steal and full-court assist from Ervin to Ford and a driving layup from Jones with seconds left in the half sparked Arkansas to an 11-point lead at intermission, 31-20.
Smothering defense from Arkansas limited UNO to only 20.7% from the field in the first half while the Lady’Backs shot 46.4% pounding the ball inside. The Lady’Backs scored 20 of its 26 points from the field in the lane to establish the 11-point halftime lead.
Brereton closed with 12 points as Arkansas’ only other player in double digits. Pfeifer finished the game with nine points.
UNO was led by Le’Della English with 10 points, followed by Brittany Helm with nine points and nine rebounds.