FAYETTEVILLE – Senior Ruby Vaden and junior Kristin Peoples each scored nine points for the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback basketball team but the effort came up short as Arkansas fell to the University of Florida at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville on Thursday evening, 68-56.
The loss drops the Lady Razorbacks to 10-3 overall and 0-2 in Southeastern Conference play while Florida improves to 10-4 overall and 1-0 in SEC action.
“I felt that the first half turnovers killed us,” Arkansas head coach Susie Gardner said. “Turnovers came in the open court where we had no one to get back on defense and they made some easy shots. When they got us in a half-court setting on offense, all five of their players had a foot in the paint. We took some good shots, but they just weren’t falling.”
“Arkansas is one of the better defenses that we have seen so far,” Florida coach Carolyn Peck said. “No night is an easy night in the SEC especially on the road. In practice this week we really focused on taking care of the ball and pressuring the ball in the half court and it worked out well for us tonight.”
Down by 17 at the half, Arkansas played tenacious defense and forced Florida to take bad shots early in the second to cut the defecit to 10 at the 13 minute mark. Florida again took a 14-point lead for several minutes before Arkansas’ April Seggebruch came off the bench for the first time with just over four minutes to go and bombed a pair of
threes for to bring Arkansas back to a single-digit defecit for the first time since early in the contest.
It appeared the Lady’Backs would stage yet another second-half comeback, but turnovers and missed shots around the three minute mark cost Arkansas the chance to rally.
“The turnover on the inbounds play after April hit two threes was crucial because it killed our second half momentum,” Gardner said.
Down by nine with two minutes to go, the Lady’Backs tried to come all the way back, but tough defensive pressure on the perimeter by the Gators would not allow Arkansas to take any significant shots from the three-point arc. Forced to foul, Florida increased their lead to 12 by the end of the contest.
Both squads looked rusty at the outset as they combined to miss the games first five shots and commit three turnovers before Florida’s Tamia Williams put the forst points on the board at 17:35. Arkansas missed first four shots and made 5 turnovers spottin Florida a seven point lead before Peoples ended the scoring drought at 15:45 with a long three. Peoples brought Arkansas within one when she buried a second trey from nearly the same spot on the floor.
With the game tied at 16, Florida went on a 12-4 run to take an eight-point lead heading into the final minutes. The Gators would make another run to close the half and go into the locker rooms ahead by 17. Turnovers plagued Arkansas throughout the opening period as it committed 14 over the first 20 minutes leading to 16 Florida points.
Florida’s Williams led all scorers with 23 points while Tashia Morehead netted 11 to help pace the Gators. Morehead and Arkansas’ Rochelle Vaughn each grabbed nine boards.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Oxford, Miss., to take on the University of Mississippi at 2:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback basketball or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.