FAYETTEVILLE – Senior Shameka Christon scored 19 points to lead four Lady Razorbacks into double digits as the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback basketball team downed the University of Memphis Lady Tigers, 79-75, at Bud Walton Arena on Friday evening.
The win improves the Lady Razorbacks to 10-2 on the season and extends their winning streak to six games in 2003-04. Memphis falls to 9-3.
“Well, we found a way to win, I guess,” Arkansas head coach Susie Gardner said. “Kristen (Peoples) had the best game of her career so far. We tried to get the ball to Shameka more in the second half and I was proud of her, she didn’t try and force shots.”
“We had decided that Christon wasn’t going to beat us, it would be (Kristin) Moore and Peoples,” Memphis head coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “We were going to let them shoot as much as they wanted and we had to make Christon work for every shot in order to win. They stepped up and did the job.”
The Lady Razorbacks started the contest with six unanswered points on a pair of three by freshman guard Kristen Peoples. Hitting the buckets from each corner of the floor, the Lady Razorbacks held Memphis off the scoreboard for 2:47, before the Tigers hit their first shot, a pair of free throws at 17:13. Peoples was at it again on Arkansas’ next posession as she buried a third trey, this time going back to the right corner.
The Lady Razorback lead grew to as many as nine in the opening period, but poor Lady Razorback shooting allowed Memphis to claw their way back into the game, tying the contest at 21 with 4:18 left in the half. The first half would end with Arkansas holding a scant 27-25 lead.
Following the break, Arkansas came out with a renewed spirit which allowed them to once again jump out to an early lead. After building their lead to seven, the Lady’Backs took their first double-digit advantage at 11:11 when Peoples put down a reverse layup. That lead would eventually grow to as many as 14 thanks in large part to Peoples who had the best game of her young career.
After playing just nine minutes in the first half, sophomore Kristin Moore also contributed heavily in the second period knocking down all of her career high 16 points and taking in seven rebounds.
“The crowd gave me a boost tonight,” Peoples said. “Coach wanted someone to step up and the team made it easy because they allowed me to get open.”
Resting on its lead, Arkansas became complacent in the second half allowing Memphis to use its tough full court press to cause Arkansas fits. The defensive sterategy worked to the tune of a two-minute scoring drought by the Lady Razorbacks before Ruby Vaden ended the skid with a two-foot jumper.
Memphis refused to quit as the game clocked ticked down as it once again tied the game, this time at 68 with 2:22 left. Arkansas responded by handing the ball to their leading scorer, Shameka Christon who cooly knocked down a pair of free throws to give Arkansas the lead. A defensive stop allowed the Lady’Backs to go ahead by four after an acrobatic play by Moore scored Arkasnas’ 71st and 72nd points.
A pair of Memphis free throws brought the tigers within two, but after running a weave offense, Arkansas found junior April Seggebruch in the right corner for a much needed three to put the Lady’Backs up by five as the clocked ticked under one minute.
Behind Christon’s 19, Arkansas got 17 from Peoples, 16 from Moore and 15 from Ruby Vaden. Vaden also led the Lady’Backs in rebounding with eight. For the Tigers it was Victoria Crawford who was nearly unstoppable as she torched Arkansas for 30 points, the most allowed by Arkansas to a single foe this year.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they host the Oklahoma State Cowgirls at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville at 2:00 p.m.