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Peoples leads Lady’Backs to victory over Idaho State

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Peoples leads Lady’Backs to victory over Idaho State

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – All-tournament selection Kristin Peoples led the University of Arkansas with more than her 15 points as the Lady Razorbacks defeated Idaho State University, 69-59, in the consolation finals of the Flint Hills Resources Islander Invitational here at the American Bank Center Saturday evening. Arkansas, 3-1, found redemption in the closing minute where the Lady’Backs had faltered the night before against #15 Purdue in the opening round. “It was touch and go early, but we made some adjustments in the locker room and came out focused in the second half,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. Of all players, it was Peoples who made the greatest change from the opening contest. The 5-8 guard committed a pair of crucial turnovers in the last minutes yesterday, but showed a steely resolve in Friday’s game. Idaho State, 1-3, kept close to Arkansas thanks to near-perfect free throw production and timely three-point goals. Trailing by nine late in the game, Idaho State closed to within four, 60-56, with 1:50 left to play off a pair of free throws from Christa Brossman. Peoples brought the Arkansas offense down the floor, and after setting the play took a return pass from Rochelle Vaughn to bury what proved the decisive three-pointer of the game with 1:39 left. “Peoples hit a big three-pointer there at the end of the game,” Gardner said. Turning to defense, Peoples stole the ball from Brossman after the Bengals made it into their end of the court, racing downcourt for a breakaway layup. Idaho State’s leading scorer on the season, Molly Hays, fouled Peoples to prevent the easy two, but the Columbus, Ohio, point guard stepped to the line to hit two free throws to complete a 5-0 run. “We have a lot of heart, and tonight we had better scoring to go with our defense,” Gardner said. “The defense responded again, and we’ll need that going into these next games.” Arkansas returns to Fayetteville Saturday morning to face Western Kentucky Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena. “This is a very intense part of our season,” Gardner said. Arkansas roared out of the locker room with increased defensive pressure, forcing six quick turnovers from Idaho State. The 13-4 run paced by two layups from Sheree Thompson and a three-pointer from Kristin Moore returned the Lady’Backs to a nine-point lead, 43-34, with 16 minutes left. Idaho State managed to pull within two twice in the second half — 45-43 after a three-pointer from Monika Marekova with 11:27 to play and 50-48 off a jumper from Hays at 8:00 — but unlike the first half Arkansas didn’t allow the Bengals any closer. The Lady’Backs led the game for the first 19 ½ minutes before Idaho State managed to rally in the final seconds of the first half. Arkansas hit four of its first five shots to jump out to a 9-2 from the tipoff. The Lady’Backs led by as many as nine before Idaho State slowly worked its way back into the game. Unable to inflict turnovers on ISU, the Bengals’ frustrated Arkansas pressure defense toward the end of the opening half. A five-point burst from Marekova pulled Idaho State within one, 19-18, with six minutes left in the first. A driving jumper from Sarah Pfeifer and back-to-back scores from Danielle Allen gave Arkansas back some breathing room, 25-20, but ISU’s Andrea Sivakova kept the Bengals in striking range with five of her own. Trailing by two, 27-25, Hays finally found the basket with 26 seconds left in the first half. Fouled by Kristina Andelkovic, Hays converted the three-point play for ISU’s first lead of the game, 28-27. Arkansas responded with a driving layup from Brittany Vaughn with 11 seconds left, and it appeared the Lady’Backs would go into halftime with the lead. However, an unusual series of events on Idaho State’s inbounds put Marekova on the line to shoot a pair of free throws to send the Bengals to the locker room with a 30-29 lead. Arkansas shot 46% from the field for the first half, but 12 turnovers frustrated the Lady’Back offense. Marekova led all scorers for Idaho State with 16 points, followed by 11 from Hays. Allen closed with 13 for Arkansas as the Lady’Backs shot 50% from the field for the game.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)