CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Post players Lauren Ervin and Sarah Pfeifer gave the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team the late game spark needed to hold off Austin Peay in an emotional homecoming game for current Lady Razorback head coach Susie Gardner, 58-46, at Aaron Arena.
Arkansas moved to 4-0 on the season, and picked up its third road win of the year.
Pfeifer led Arkansas with 12 points and Ervin had a season-high 12 rebounds with nine points for the Lady’Backs.
Gardner led APSU to three straight NCAA appearances before moving to Fayetteville in 2003 to take over the Lady Razorback program.
“I was concerned that with a double-header with the men that the crowd would get Austin Peay into the game,” Gardner said. “They did, and give credit to Austin Peay, they played with confidence.”
Austin Peay, 1-2, made its run early in the second half, with a 12-0 scoring spree to pull back within 11 points of Arkansas, 37-26, with 11:30 to play in the game. Whitney Jones’ stick-back broke the run, but APSU stayed close as the Lady’Back offense sputtered.
Ervin’s presence in the lane allowed Arkansas to get timely buckets and turnovers to keep the Lady Govs at bay.
The Lady Govs’ big break came Kellea Reeves’ jumper cut the spread to nine, 53-44, with 1:20 left, but Pfeifer’s quick jumper ended the comeback.
“Our post players came up with the big plays tonight,” Gardner said.
Three-pointers were the difference as APSU and Arkansas shot almost identical percentages in the second half – 44.4% for Arkansas and 46.4% for APSU, but the Lady Govs had four second half threes while Arkanas had none and only two for the game.
“All of our games this year have been close except Lipscomb,” Gardner said. “So far, our defense has been exceptional, and it was tonight. Our offense, something isn’t clicking. We’ve only got one day before we play again, but we’ll be in the gym Sunday making adjustments.
Arkansas picked up where it left off defensively on Friday night at Lipscomb by holding Austin Peay scoreless for the opening 5:10 of the ball game. The Lady’Back defensive pressure held the Lady Govs to single digits until Saundra Hale’s rebound putback gave APSU 11 with 2:21 left in the first half.
Meanwhile, Arkansas pulled out to a 10-point lead, 13-3, by the nine minute mark and slowly broke the game open. Leading by 19 at the close of the first half, Danielle Allen, Ayana Brereton and Pfiefer led very balanced scoring to a 29-11 lead at intermission.
The Lady’Backs struggled from the field, hitting only 26.9% in the first half, but were surpassed in field goal futility by APSU’s 15% with only three made field goals.
For the game, Pfeifer led all scorers with 12, while APSU had 10 from substitute player Alicia Watson.
Arkansas returns to Fayetteville to face Wichita State on Monday evening at Bud Walton Arena at 7 p.m.