FAYETTEVILLE – Junior Sarah Pfeifer scored 21 points to lead the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback basketball team to its first Southeastern Conference win of the season, defeating Mississippi State, 83-71, on Sunday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
The win improves the Lady Razorbacks to 11-5 on the season and 1-4 in SEC play while the Bulldogs fall to 13-3 and 2-1 in conference action. The loss snaps the longest win streak in MSU history at 12 games.
“This may have been the best start (to a game) we have had this year,” Arkansas head coach Susie Gardner said. “It feels as though we haven’t won since the Oregon game beofre Christmas and I was happy for the players.”
The Lady’Backs had a 17-0 run to take a 17-4 lead in the opening minutes of the game.
“It always seems to be a monkey off your back when yo get that first SEC win,” Adrienne Bush said.
Ahead by seven at the break, Arkansas continued to use a strong defensive presence and good shooting from the floor to dictate the pace of play. Even through the opening moments, Arkansas went on its third significant run of the game midway through the half to open up its largest lead of the contest at 18.
“They will not quit and we could see that from the film,” Mississippi State head coach Sharon Fanning said. “They did all the little things and in the SEC you can’t play for a few minutes at a team. Arkansas is made up of some good kids that worked for a win. They were very hungry for this victory.”
The Bulldogs did begin yet another comeback bid, but incredible Arkansas passing in the low post kept the Lady Razorbacks shooting above 50 percent despite a lack of size in the paint. Mississippi State did make it interesting down the stretch as back-to-back threes from Tan White and Tiana Burns brought the Bulldogs to within 10, but that would be as close as they would come as missed shots and fouls in the closing moments sealed their fate.
After spotting the visitors a four-point lead, Arkansas came storming back with 17 unanswered, holding the Bulldogs to six-minute scoreless drought that spanned the media timeout and didn’t end until 12:14 in the half when Mamie McKinney sank a pair of free throws. Mississippi State’s troubles included 10 missed shots from the floor and three turnovers. Arkansas was aided by the fact that it was nailing its shots at a 59-percent clip.
Down by 13, Mississippi State returned the favor with a 19-0 run of its own to lead by four, 23-19. The Lady Razorbacks came storming back to outscore the Bulldogs 14-3 over the final seven minutes to head into the locker room with a seven-point lead.
The Lady Razorbacks had four players in double digits and several with career highs. Behind Pfeifer’s career high 21, Kristin Peoples scored 16 with a career high seven rebounds, Bush scored her career high with 13 and Danielle Allen 12 for Arkansas. Kristina Andjelkovic came off the bench to tie her career best with eight.
White led Mississippi State and all scorers with 29 on 11 of 25 from the floor and added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Burns and McKinney scored 15 and 12, respectively. The Bulldogs were hampered by poor shooting throughout the affair as they hit just 37 percent from the floor, and had only one point from the bench.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Thursday evening when they travel to Baton Rouge, La., to take on the LSU Tigers at 7:00 p.m. For more information about Lady Razorback basketball or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.