CLEMSON, SC – Senior Danielle Allen led four Lady Razorbacks in double digits as the University of Arkansas opened the 2006-07 season with a road victory over Clemson University, 75-69.
Allen had 14 points, followed by Sarah Pfeifer and Lauren Ervin with 13 each and Donica Cosby with 12.
It was a mix of the old and the new as senior veterans like Allen and Pfeifer steadied Arkansas through a game of topsy-turvy offense and a virtual foul-fest for both teams.
“There were a crazy bunch of runs,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “We’d get up 10 and they’d come back. One thing we learned tonight was that we’ve got a lot of different players who can step up.”
Ervin’s rebound putback drew the fifth foul of Moreemi Davis – the fourth Tiger to foul out of the game — and the three-point play with 53 seconds left proved the difference maker. Ervin finished the game with her first double-double at Arkansas with 11 rebounds to go with her 13 points.
Arkansas, 1-0, becomes only the fifth team in the 31-year history of Clemson women’s basketball to beat the Lady Tigers in the home opener.
“It’s been a good week for the Lady Razorbacks,” Gardner said. “Get five great signees to start the week and come into an ACC gym and come away with a win.”
Tied at halftime, freshman Cosby sparked Arkansas’ victory with all 12 of her points in the second half.
“We were working with lineups all night long,” Gardner said. “Donica went out there and just didn’t seem to be phased. She really stood out for us, and hit a big time three.”
“We wore them out a little bit, but everyone was a part of the game for us. It was tough.”
Fouls dominated the opening minutes of both halves, but in the second it sent the key inside players for both teams to the bench. Ervin went from zero to three fouls within the first 4:13 of the second half and her counterpart from Clemson, Adrianne Bradshaw had her fourth one minute into the second half.
For the game, Arkansas had 26 fouls but managed to avoid fouling out any players while Clemson finished with 31.
With the posts out of the way, a free-wheeling game that favored Lady’Back freshman Cosby. The 5-7 guard scored eight points early in the second to lead Arkansas to a 48-41 lead with 12 minutes to play. A 6-0 run by Clemson to pull within one, 48-47, was snuffed by back-to-back put-backs from Allen to spur a 6-0 return run by the Lady’Backs.
Arkansas slowly began to pull away, and got its first 10-point lead on a three-point play by Pfeifer that earned Bradshaw’s fifth foul.
The Lady’Backs were unable to close out the game, sputtering offensively while Clemson’s Brown led a comeback to within two, 61-59.
Both teams opened the game sluggish as turnovers and fouls dominated the pace of play. The two teams combined for 25 first-half fouls and shot 29 free throws in a sloppy opening 20 minutes.
Arkansas managed a brief lead before Clemson used a 7-2 run for its first lead, 17-12. Leslie Howard hit Arkansas’ only three-pointer of the first half to tie the game at 17-17 as the Lady’Backs briefly regained the lead.
The Tigers went to work to put together an 11-2 run to lead 30-24, due mostly to a four-minute drought in which Arkansas missed 10 straight field goals.
Garnder made a defensive change in the closing minutes of the half that turned the game around. An aggressive 2-3 trapping zone sparked Arkansas as an Ervin short jumper snapped the shooting slump and started an 8-2 run by the Lady’Backs. Allen’s buzzer-beating jumper sent the teams to the locker room tied at 32-32.
For the game, Arkansas outrebounded the taller Tigers, 56 to 38.
In the closing seconds of the game, Vaughn chased a loose ball over the press row and fell into the stands, striking her head on a step.