FAYETTEVILLE – Behind 12 points from junior guard Kristin Peoples, the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback basketball team earned a hard fought 61-49 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville on Sunday afternoon.
The win improves the Lady Razorbacks to 12-6 on the season and 2-5 in SEC play while South Carolina falls to 6-13 and 0-5 in conference action.
“We were at a size disadvantage but our guards pressured the perimeter well and forced some bad shots,” Arkansas head coach Susie Gardner. “I was pleased with our defense, instead of trying to guard their post players, we put more pressure on the guards and prevented the pass to the interior.”
The Lady Razorback’s defensive pressure and decent shooting allowed them to go into the locker room at the half with a 13-point lead, 35-22.
For the game, Arkansas took 22 turnovers from the Carolina, resulting in 20 points off turnovers.
“A big part of our game was to use our size,” South Carolina head coach Susan Walvius said. “We had it at moments, but we are a young team and trying to learn team ball.”
A pair of three pointers by junior Sheree Thompson gave Arkansas an 18-point lead at the 11-minute mark prompting Walvius to call timeout and regroup. A good looking inbounds play led to an open three on the ensuing possession, but the Gamecocks remained ice cold from the perimeter as they failed to hit their seventh three of the contest. For the game, South Carolina would go two for 15 from beyond the arc.
Following Arkansas’ bevy of threes, it went cold from the floor, missing numerous chances as it went six minutes without a bucket. Fortunately for the Lady Razorbacks, South Carolina was only able to mount a small comeback in that time as the Gamecocks also missed several easy scoring opportunities. Arkansas’ largest lead of the contest, 18 as cut down to 11 late in the game, but Lady Razorback execution on the offensive end kept Arkansas in the lead.
Arkansas opened the contest with the game’s first five points before both squads began to exchange buckets one-for-one. Using a strong defensive effort, the Lady’Backs were able to force some turnovers from the Gamecocks which led to easy buckets allowing Arkansas to increase its lead. As the half wore on, the Lady’Backs were seemingly a step faster than South Carolina into the passing lanes which counted for most of Arkansas’ nine first-half steals.
It was a total team effort that led the Lady Razorbacks as two scored in double digits led by People’s 12. Sarah Pfeifer scored 10 for Arkansas while South Carolina’s Ilona Burgrova led all scorers with 14 points. Despite a massive size disadvantage in the low post, Arkansas still managed to grab 36 rebounds and score 24 points in the paint as compared to the Gamecocks 45 rebounds and 30 points in the low post.
“It was nice to go out there and force turnovers, play defense and get the crowd into the game,” Adrienne Bush said. “We definitely have some winnable conference games left. It would be nice to have a winning conference record come February.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Tuesday, January 25, when they travel to Kansas City, Mo., to take on UMKC in non-conference action. For more information about Lady Razorback basketball or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.