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Lady’Backs head to Baton Rouge for #8 LSU

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Lady’Backs head to Baton Rouge for #8 LSU

ABOUT THE TIGERS: LSU balance old and new as the top post in the SEC, Sylvia Fowles, returns as the featured player in the lineup. The double-double machine now leads the SEC in rebounding at 11.1 rpg and is highly ranked in scoring at 17.4 ppg. Quianna Chaney balances Fowles’ inside presence as the top three-point scorer for the Tigers at 11.9 ppg.

THERE’S LITTLE THEY DON’T DO WELL: LSU has inside power with Sylvia Fowles and a +8.1 rebound margin and a whopping 5.2 blocks per game. The offense is running as high powered as ever with 70.3 ppg and 45% from the field and a +24 margin. The defense, however, is the real distinction with 46.3 allowed to drive the +24 margin. It’s not post-oriented as LSU continues to feast on a +6.2 turnover margin thanks to forcing over 20 per game from opponents and an 11.1 steal per game mark. The one "weak" spot — the Tigers are shooting only 63.2% from the line.

DEFENSE NATIONALLY RANKED: LSU is #1 in the nation in scoring defense, #2 in field goal percentage defense and fifth in the nation in scoring margin.

NATION’S LONGEST ACTIVE HOME WINNING STREAK: LSU brings a 40-game run of victories at the PMAC into Thursday’s game, and of course, a perfect 9-0 mark this season.

THE ROAD WARRIORS: No other team in the SEC has played as many road games as Arkansas (10), and the Lady’Backs do sport the best road record in the league at 9-1

FRYING PAN, NOW FIRE: After running the gauntlet against the bottom two teams in the SEC — teams desparate for a victory and playing that way — Arkansas jumps into a week of back-to-back top 25 at LSU then hosting a return engagement with Vanderbilt.

POSTS COLLIDE: The two top rebounders in the SEC, 6-6 Sylvia Fowles of LSU and 6-4 Lauren Ervin, match up for the first of two games this Thursday. Fowles ranks sixth in Division I for boards, and after her 30-rebound week, Ervin moves up to 16th in the nation. They are also two of the most accurate shooters in America with Fowles at fourth with 64.9% and Ervin at 8th with 61.5%.

TEAMMATES COLLIDE: Last year, they were the top backcourt in the state of Texas. Thursday night at the PMAC former prep teammates Allison Hightower of LSU and Charity Ford of Arkansas square off. Hightower is one of the top players off the bench for LSU, while Ford is a starter for the Lady’Backs. Both starred last year at Juan Sequin High in Arlington, Texas.

THAT’S WHAT A TWO-HANDED ERVIN CAN DO: We answer the rhetorical question posed during the month of November when Lauren Ervin was pulling down double-doubles basically with one hand after her extremely scary compound dislocation in Hawai’i. The 6-4 senior got her eighth and ninth doubles last week against SEC foes with a career high 20 points versus Alabama and 10 rebounds, then the palendromic 10 points and a SEC game school record 20 rebounds at Florida.

LET’S REPEAT THAT: Correct, a Lady Razorback finally has the 20 rebound game against Florida, a team that historically punked the Arkansas posts.

HISTORIC IMPACT: The 20 boards by Ervin is two off the junior class and University record of 22 set by the one-woman rebounding crew Shelly Wallace from the late 1980s. Wallace has the two highest games ever at 22 and 20 (her senior season). Ervin gets the mark now for SEC games, shattering the previous of 16 held by Stephanie Bloomer from the 1993 season. Her 20 ties Wallace as the second most in a single game.

GUARDS ROCK GATORS: The trio of Brittney Vaughn, Dominique Washington and Donica Cosby led the way with breakouts at Florida.

CALL THE GAME WITH 5:53 TO PLAY: Brittney Vaughn’s drive into the lane with just under six minutes left in the game put the Gators on their backs. Donica Cosby finished the job with a drive of her own and a three-pointer on the next two Arkansas possessions. After the 7-0 burst, the Gators were inverted and unable to flip back over. After, Arkansas build a quick eight point lead that extended to the final 10-point spread.

REBOUNDING RELIEF!: Arkansas outrebounded its first SEC team at Florida, and how. With Lauren Ervin leading the way with a UA SEC game record 20, Arkansas had 52 rebounds — a season high — at Gainesville.

VAUGHN STAYS AT NO. 8 IN THE COUNTRY: Junior Brittney Vaughn’s 6.5 assists per game keeps her at 8th in the Division I stats. She broke into the top 10 at No. 9 for the week of Jan. 7, then moved up to 8th last week. She is second in the SEC to national runner-up Dee Davis of Vandy with 6.6. Amanda Rego of San Diego continues to lead at 7.8 per game.

STAY AT 26 IN THE AP: Lady’Backs held their spot as the top of the also receivings. It is the same spot Arkansas had last week and seven weeks ago just before moving into the poll at 25. While Arkansas commands the 26th spot by a wide margin, the 2-0 run of the SEC’s bottom teams did not impress the voters enough to move the Lady’Backs ahead of Nebraska, who slip into the poll this week at 25th.

VERSUS LSU: It has not been pretty recently with the Tigers. LSU leads the series, 19-9, and has won the last eight games overall. It has been a long time since the Lady’Backs won in Baton Rouge — 11 years — and Arkansas is only 3-10 at the PMAC.

LAST TIME IN BATON ROUGE: Arkansas put the clamps on LSU, but could not stop the national player of the year as Seimone Augustus bid farewell to the Lady’Backs with a 12-of-15 effort. The only Lady Tiger in double digits, Augustus seemed unable to miss. While Arkansas was vastly improved on defense from the first meeting, the Lady’Back offense stalled with no player managing double digits in Baton Rouge.

LAST TIME IN FAYETTEVILLE: LSU proved why they were the favorite to win the league with an offense tour de force in Fayetteville, shredding what had been a strong UA defense in SEC games. Arkansas had Seimone Augustus off her game early, but Sylvia Fowles more than made up with 9-of-12 from the field in a double-double game. Leslie Howard had one of her best games from behind the arc with 50% for three-pointers, but her 17 points wasn’t enough to undo a 66.7% first half and 57% game by LSU.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)