ABOUT THE GATORS: The trio of Sha Brooks, Marshae Dotson and Depree Bowden lead the way for the Gators this season. A short roster and a tight rotation are the highlights of the Florida stats. It is a guard-oriented lineup with only one player, senior Briana Phillips, over six foot, and a starting lineup listed completely under 6-0.
WOUNDED REPTILES MOST DANGEROUS: Florida rides a six-game losing streak, four straight in SEC play, and has not won a game in 2007. Florida is only 5-5 at home this year, and has yet to win against SEC competition at the O’Connell Center.
THEY EAT PIGS, DON’T THEY?: Arkansas has only one win all-time at Gainesville in basketball, and women’s sports have only six wins in any sport — once in hoops, one cross country, one indoor track title and three games in softball.
PFEIFER NAMED NOMINEE FOR LOWE’S CLASS AWARD: Senior post Sarah Pfeifer was named one of the 30 national nominees for the Lowe’s CLASS Award. The award presented annually to the Division I senior basketball player who excels on and off the court — Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School — is in its sixth year, and Pfeifer becomes the first Lady Razorback chosen. Ten finalists will be chosen in February for the award, then a national ballot for fans coupled with media and coaches will determine the winner. Seven SEC athletes were on the list.
REBOUNDING RELIEF?: Probably not as the Gators traditionally have pounded Arkansas in the paint, but statistically Florida is running an uncharacteristic negative rebounding margin of -2.7 for the year and -4.0 in SEC games. Arkansas has one of the top rebounders in the league in Lauren Ervin, but it has not translated into a team effort. While Ervin is averaging 10.4 rpg for the season and 9.3 in SEC games, Arkansas is a whopping -7.8 on the glass against conference foes.
LET US REPEAT — IT’S ABOUT THE BOARDS: For the full season, Arkansas remains +3.4 rebounds per game, but in SEC play that swings to -7.8. That’s an 11.2 rebound swing. Unfortunately, Arkansas can’t say its because they have faced the tall timber of the league. The Lady’Backs match up with two of their first foes (Bama, Ole Miss), and isn’t that much smaller than the other two (Vandy, Auburn).
AND IT’S ABOUT DEFENSE: Arkansas forced an opponent high eight straight turnovers to open the game with Alabama, and kept the pressure on the rest of the way. Alabama managed zero field goals in the final 4:40 of the game, and had only one field goal in the final seven minutes of the game. In fact, only one player — Kate Mastin — scored for Alabama in the last eight minutes of the game. Arkansas held Alabama without field goals for two significant periods in the second — over four minutes each.
NEAR HIGHS FOR TURNOVERS: Only Lipscomb had more turnovers against Arkansas this year (33) than Alabama’s 32. The +17 margin was equalled against Hawai’i and bested at Lipcomb (+19). The 30 points off turnovers? another high since non-conf play.
ITS NOT HOW MANY YOU SCORE, BUT WHEN YOU SCORE THEM: Leslie Howard is the living embodiment as the senior had two points — the decisive final two free throws with 4.1 left — at Auburn and three-points — a single key trey with 56 seconds left.
VOLUME OFFENSE: Arkansas shot 73 times versus the 44 by Alabama. The extra shots came courtesy of a powerful defense that forced 32 turnovers from the Crimson Tide. Good thing that Arkansas purchased its shots by the bushel as the Lady’Backs hit only 35.6% from the field. Meanwhile, Bama hit 47.7% of its shots.
JUNIORS HOLD CAREER NIGHT: Lauren Ervin and Brittney Vaughn each scored career highs with Alabama. Ervin had 20 points, her second straight career high, and picked up her eighth double with 10 rebounds. Vaughn crushed her career high with 17, besting the 14 from earlier this year with Wichita.
VAUGHN TIES ARENA RECORD: Brittney Vaughn’s eight steals tied the Walton Arena record set by Kristin Moore against Western Kentucky on Dec. 28, 2004. Both marks were at the direction of Susie Gardner — coincidence? We think not. The eight steals also ties the UA class record, joining a neutral court effort of eight by Sheree Thompson against Idaho State and a home game (but at Barnhill) by Angela Davis versus Alabama State in 1991.
SHARE IT WITH FORD: Both Brittney Vaughn and Susie Gardner said in the postgame Alabama press conference that the eight-steal effort by Vaughn to tie the arena record was a product of Charity Ford’s defensive pressure. The freshman scored another turtling of the opponent point guard with seven turnovers against three assists for one and three-two for the other.
WHAT’S HOT: In the last five games:
LAUREN ERVIN is hitting 70.2%, 14.2 ppg
BRITTNEY VAUGHN has 8.8 apg, 7.6 ppg
SARAH PFIEFER is 84.6% at the line
CHARITY FORD is hitting 47.4%
WHAT’S NOT: In the last five games:
DONICA COSBY is 27.8% FG, 20% 3P
SARAH PFIEFER is 31.4% FG
THREE-POINT SHOOTING is only 23.6%
REBOUNDING is -3.2 margin
TOTAL GAME FOR PG: Against Alabama, Brittney Vaughn picked up a team best for free throws with 7-of-7, a career high 17 points, a school record tying eight steals and got her average for assists with seven (coming in at 6.4 apg). Vaughn also shot 5-of-7 from the field, pulled down her average for rebounds with four and played 31 minutes.
POINTS IN THE PAINT: Lauren Ervin leads the thunder down under with 20 points off 9-of-14 shooting, but Arkansas as a team had one of its highest points in the paint games with 42 of the 71 in the lane versus only 28 for Bama.
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS: A unique combination as Arkansas also got a high POT with Alabama, turning 32 Tide miscues into 30 points.
VAUGHN GOES TO NO. 8 IN THE COUNTRY: Junior Brittney Vaughn’s 6.4 assists per game inches her up one spot to 8th in the Division I stats. She broke into the top 10 at No. 9 for the week of Jan. 7. She is second in the SEC to national runner-up Dee Davis of Vandy with 6.8. Amanda Rego of San Diego continues to lead at 7.8 per game.
NOW ERVIN BREAKS INTO THE TOP 10: Lauren Ervin moves into the top 10 in the nation in field goal percentage. At 61.3% from the field, Ervin also ranked third in the SEC. The last Lady’Back to rank so high in field goal percentage? Delmonica DeHorney from the SWC era. Ervin also ranks 17th in rebounds per game and 21 in blocked shots per game.
SO MUCH FOR 12TH IN PERCENTAGE: Dominique Washington jumped into the national numbers at the start of the week for three-point shooting percentage at 12th with 45.7%. After a 2-for-12 night with Alabama, she has cooled substantially to 42.3% and only 39.3% in league games.
DROP TO 26 IN THE AP: Lady’Backs slide out of the top 25 this week with only one game on last week’s slate to the top of the also receivings. It is the same spot Arkansas had six weeks ago just before moving into the poll at 25, and at only six votes from 25 could jump right back in with a good week in conference play.
VERSUS FLORIDA: The Gators have the big advantage in the series at 14-5, but Arkansas has the one-game winning streak after last year’s upset in Fayetteville. While UA is 14-5, Susie Gardner is 2-1 versus Florida, including the only win ever at the O’Connell Center.
LAST MEETING WITH FLORIDA: Perhaps the streakiest game of the year as Arkansas jumped on Florida with four three-pointers to start the game, only to see the offense go dark for the next 8:20 and Florida rally from a 12-12 tie eventually to a 30-16 lead. But from 4:22 to the end of the half, Arkansas’ defense clamped down harder than a Gator chomp to hold Florida scoreless to end the half with an 11-0 run. It continued into the second half for a 16-0 swing that put Arkansas ahead, and the Lady’Backs rode out the Florida comeback. Arkansas set a school record with its first-ever perfect game at the line with 10 or more attempts, a stunning achievement for a team that was shooting in the low 60s. The win extended Arkansas’ best start in SEC games in school history and gave the Lady’Backs a second upset over a top 25 team at Walton Arena. The win also goes into the record books as the 300th home victory in school history.
NEVER-NEVERS: So far this year, Arkansas is undefeated when it holds the opponent under 60 (11-0) and holding the opponent under 40% from the field (11-0)