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Lady’Backs among national leaders at the holiday break

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Lady’Backs among national leaders at the holiday break

FAYETTEVILLE – The undefeated Arkansas Lady Razorback basketball team heads into the holiday break ranked top 25 in nine of the NCAA’s 16 statistical categories, and No. 1 in the nation along with five other teams for winning percentage.

In spite of the school record-setting 12-0 start, the Lady Razorbacks remain unranked by both the Associated Press and ESPN/WBCA top 25 polls. Arkansas is at the top of the teams also receiving votes in the coach’s poll, but 30th overall in the AP poll.

Only six teams are left undefeated in the nation, and of those, only Arkansas is unranked. The other unranked undefeated team, Virginia Commonwealth, lost earlier this week.

Arkansas joins Connecticut, Tennessee, Georgia, DePaul and Oklahoma State in the recent national stats as the only teams with perfect records among the 326 teams in Division I. Since the numbers were issued on Dec. 16, OSU has fallen from the ranks of the undefeated.

This time last season, Arkansas had broken into both polls with a 12-1 record that led to a 15-1 start against non-conference teams, the best start to the year until the second loss.

The 2007-08 team, led by one of the nation’s top post players in double-double averaging senior Lauren Ervin, broke the best undefeated start of the 1999-2000 squad at 8-0, and surpassed last year’s team’s 7-0 start. The Lady’Backs went on holiday break by defeating Memphis on Dec. 18, 91-66.

Arkansas once again leads the SEC in field goal percentage defense, and now stands at 14th among in Division I. The Lady’Backs are allowing only 33.2% to opponents.

Arkansas is also 14th in scoring margin and personal fouls. The Lady’Backs are 11th in the country for blocked shots, with Ervin ranking individually with 1.6 per game.

Point guard Brittney Vaughn is top 100 in both assist-to-turnover ratio and assists per game as the team ranks 16th in A-T ratio and 21st in assists.

Arkansas’ scoring defense is 21st in the county and its field goal percentage 22nd to round out the top 25 categories.

Ervin and junior teammate Whitney Jones each rank individually in field goal percentage with Ervin at 21st in the country while Jones is 42nd.

Ervin is also ranked 14th in the nation in rebounds with 10.7 per game, and the 6-3 post player even managed to rank top 100 in assists per game.

The NCAA stats are through games of Dec. 16, and Arkansas finds itself ranked in the top 100 in 14 of the 16 categories, a first for the team. Along with the top 25 marks, Arkansas is 31st in rebound margin, 45th in scoring offense, 60th in turnovers, 72nd in three-point percentage and 97th in free throw percentage. The only low spots are three-pointers per game (111th) and steals per game (170th).

Tom Collen goes to Christmas and his Dec. 21st birthday undefeated for the first time in his career. Himself ranked 11th winningest among the active women’s coaches, Collen has a milestone next week as he coaches his career 300th game as a head women’s basketball coach with the opening game of the Blue Sky Tournament against Delaware.

The Lady’Backs face the Blue Hens at 4 p.m. on Dec. 29 in the first round of the Dartmouth College hosted tournament in Hanover, N.H. Arkansas faces either Dartmouth or NCAA tournament team from 2007 Marquette in the second round.

The final non-conference game of the year is Jan. 5 as Arkansas hosts former Southwest Conference rival Texas Tech. The Lady’Backs and Lady Raiders tip at 2 p.m. at Walton Arena.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)