LEXINGTON, Ky. – On senior day, the University of Kentucky seniors led the way as the Wildcats defeated the University of Arkansas, 87-60, in the Lady Razorbacks’ first-ever appearance at Rupp Arena.
Arkansas, 18-10, drops to 3-9 in Southeastern Conference games while the Wildcats move to 17-11 and 6-7 in league play.
Freshman Donica Cosby led the Lady’Backs with 13. Junior Lauren Ervin was the only other Lady’Back in double digits with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Meanwhile UK had four in double figures, led by sophomore Carly Ormerod’s 23 points. The sophomore was important, but it was the seniors that did the damage.
Jennifer Humphrey had a double-double of 16 points and 16 rebounds with Jenny Pfeiffer adding 14, most behind the arc. Sarah Elliott rounded out the UK double figure scorers with 13.
“We have gotten into a bad habit of getting down early, but we fought back and we fought hard,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “Ormerod had a great game. We knew she could take, she could drive, and we just didn’t have a way to stop her today.”
Trailing by 12 at halftime, Arkansas used a quick four-point outburst in the second half. The Lady’Backs got within six, 49-43, with 16 minutes left, but went cold. Shooting less than 30% for the second half, Arkansas’ defensive effort forcing turnovers could not make up for a red-hot Kentucky.
“It takes a lot out of us to get back,” UA senior Sarah Pfeifer said. “It seemed like we just ran out of gas.”
UK shot over 60% for the game, while the Lady’Backs hit only 27.4%.
The Wildcat’s Pfeiffer, who averaged only eight points per game, had eight points in the opening six minutes of the game as the Wildcats put seniors into the starting lineup.
They responded by lifting UK to a pair of early runs to take command of the game. Pfeiffer led the first run, a 14-0 burst, to take a 19-5 lead.
Getting the ball inside to substitute post Whitney Jones for a pair of buckets, Arkansas began to work on the margin only to see UK take a timeout. Coming out of the huddle, the Wildcats launched a 16-6 run to take a 20-point, 36-16 lead with 6:05 left in the half.
The Wildcat offense went mild for the next four and a half minutes allowing Arkansas to roar back into the game with an 18-2 run. Seven points from Cosby paced the comeback as the Lady’Backs were down only six, 40-34, with two minutes left in the half.
Ormerod guided Kentucky back to a double-digit halftime lead with five points in a 7-0 run to intermission and a 47-35 lead.
Poor shooting in the opening minutes hamstrung Arkansas’ chances. The Lady’Backs hit only five of the first 19 shots, finishing the first half with just 33.3% while UK hit 60.7% from the field and 54.5% from behind the arc. The seniors led the way with Pfeiffer hitting 4-of-7 and Natassia Alcisus 1-of-3 in UK’s 6-of-11 for the first half.
The Lady Razorbacks return home for their own senior night next Thursday against Tennessee at 7 p.m. at Walton Arena.