FAYETTEVILLE – Junior Sarah Pfeifer matched her career high with 21 points to lead the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback basketball team to a 15-point, 83-68, win against the University of Alabama on Thursday night at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
The win improves the Lady Razorbacks to 14-8 overall and 3-7 in Southeastern Conference action and handed Alabama (13-9, 4-5) its worst defeat in the history of the series.
“Sarah had a great game, but it was a total team effort,” Arkansas head coach Susie Gardner said. “We had people diving on the floor, we had more focus on defense, and obviously we hit our shots.”
Arkansas’ tied its best scoring output in a SEC game this season and its best half with 50 points in the opening period.
It comes one game after shooting a school-record worst field goal percentage of 23.5% at Auburn. Gardner turned the past three practices into pure shooting.
“I think the practices paid off,” Pfeiffer said.
“We did spend three days working on it, and it could have backfired by over-emphasising it,” Gardner said. “Believe me I was happy when those first shots went in.”
In fact, Arkansas hit its first seven field goals and two free throws on the way to a near-school record 61.5% from the field for the first half.
“Arkansas got the first four or five punches in and for whatever reason, they were really ready,” Alabama head coach Rick Moody said. “They played hard on both ends of the floor, and they took us to the woodshed.”
The Lady’Backs had four in double digits for only the third time this season as Kristin Peoples hit 15 and Rochelle Vaughn came off the bench for 14 points.
“Ro(chelle) might have had her best all-around game this year,” Gardner said. “She was strong on both ends of the floor.”
Holding a commanding lead at the break, Arkansas used its late first half spurt as momentum into the second half.
The Lady Razorbacks increased their 17-point halftime lead to as many as 26 late in the second. Using its entire compliment of players, 10 Lady Razorbacks saw 10 minutes or more of playing time including seven that played 15.
“It was really fun to be out there and to see the team’s hard work the past three days pay off,” Gardner said. “I was really happy for our players.”
Four Lady Razorbacks scored in double-digits led by Pfeifer’s 21. Others to post twin bills included Kristin Peoples (15), Rochelle Vaughn (14) and Danielle Allen (11). Alabama’s Dee Merriweather led all players in rebounds with 11.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Gwinnett, Ga., to take on Georgia Tech at noon. For more information about Lady Razorback basketball or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.