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Pfeifer Allen get doubles but offense not enough at Auburn

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Pfeifer Allen get doubles but offense not enough at Auburn

AUBURN, Ala. – Arkansas got a pair of double-doubles for the first time this season but it wasn’t enough to overcome the first triple-double in Auburn history as the Lady Razorbacks went cold in the final minutes to lose 62-51 at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum Thursday evening. Arkansas, 13-8, dropped to 2-7 on the Southeastern Conference season while Auburn moved to 11-9 and 2-5 in league play. The Lady’Backs had a career-high 12 rebounds and a game-high 17 points from Sarah Pfeifer – the first double of her career – and 14 points and a career high 11 rebounds from Danielle Allen. “Sarah and Danielle played as well and as hard as they could tonight,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “They brought their hearts and they gave it their all. We just could not hit a shot tonight.” The diminutive 6-0 sophomore posts played almost the entire game for the Lady’Backs, but could not overcome the presence of 6-5 junior center Marita Payne. “Marita was a huge difference in the game, but we knew that going in,” Gardner said. “She had eight blocks against LSU, and with our smaller size, we knew that would make it easier for her.” Payne had 15 points, 12 rebounds and 13 blocked shots – many coming in the closing minutes as Arkansas furiously tried to stop the closing Auburn run. Arkansas outrebounded the taller Tigers, 48-40, forced 20 turnovers and had 12 steals, but it was not enough to overcome a 23.6% night from the floor, 20.0% in the crucial second half. “We just couldn’t score, it was a simple as that,” Gardner said. “We could not put the ball in the hole.” Arkansas cut down the 27-21 Auburn halftime lead with a pair of free throws from Pfeifer and the first bucket of the game from Rochelle Vaughn, but the Tigers came out more physical in the second half. Arkansas had two more players leave the game with injury in the opening minutes of the second half. Adrienne Bush exited with a twisted ankle early, followed minutes later by Allen crashing to the floor on her left elbow while attempting to take a charge. “The injuries take you out of your flow,” Gardner said. The Tigers mustered enough offense during the physical spree to build a 10-point lead, 39-29, with 11:15 to play. Arkansas started its comeback at the free throw line. Allen sank a pair of free throws to begin a 7-0 run. A three-point play by Brittney Vaughn followed by a layup from Pfeifer made it 42-39. Auburn’s Louise Emeagi broke the run by hitting two of three free throws, but Allen and Brittney Vaughn responded to cut the lead to one, 44-43, with 8:31 to play. Despite giving up almost a half-foot to Auburn’s 6-5 center Payne, Arkansas’ 6-0 post players Allen and Pfeifer took control of the lane. The duo drew fouls to pull Arkansas close again before Allen’s running jumper with 6:41 gave the Lady’Backs the lead, 49-48. Both players pulled down career highs for rebounds, but Arkansas’ offense betrayed the team’s defensive efforts. Allen’s shot was Arkansas’ last as the Lady’Backs managed only two free throws from Bush in the last six minutes as Auburn pulled away with 14-0 run at the end of the game. “We didn’t shoot well all game, but in particular we didn’t have anyone step up at the end on offense,” Gardner said. Both teams opened cold from the field as each side’s defensive strength controlled the pace. Auburn altered several Arkansas shots with four blocks in the first 10 minutes and the Lady’Backs responded with five early steals. Arkansas’ offensive flow took a blow five minutes into the game when Peoples attempted to take a charge from Brackett. Brackett got the jumper and Peoples went down hard with a injured left knee. She missed the rest of the half as basketball trainer Phill Vardiman worked on the hyperflexed knee to prepare her for the second half. Neither team could manage a significant lead until a three-pointer by Emeagi put the Tigers ahead 15-12. Brittney Vaughn’s steal and breakaway layup gave Arkansas back the lead, 19-18, with 4:33 left in the half. Another Vaughn steal looked as it would give the Lady’Backs the chance to build a lead prior to halftime. Instead, it was Auburn that pulled away at the close of the first half as Arkansas managed only one more field goal, a layup from Pfeifer at 3:08 to keep the one-point lead, 21-20. Auburn proceeded to outscored the Lady’Backs 7-0 over the final three minutes of the half for a 27-21 lead. While still struggling from the field, Allen hit 8-of-10 at the line for most of her 14 points. “Danielle’s been putting in a lot of time and effort on her free throws, and that paid off for her tonight,” Gardner said. Nicole Louden added 12 points from Auburn, scoring half of her points in the decisive final six minutes of the game. Arkansas returns to Fayetteville for an open date on Sunday before taking on Alabama next Thursday at Bud Walton Arena.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)