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Regular season finale for Lady’Backs this Sunday at Georgia

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Regular season finale for Lady’Backs this Sunday at Georgia

ABOUT THE LADY RAZORBACKS: Arkansas heads into the final stretch with new starters to make a push for the SEC tournament seeding. Lauren Ervin is the leader, the first double-double player on average for Arkansas since the late 1980s. Offensive consistency haunts Arkansas in SEC play, and has stressed a solid defensive team to its limit. While riding a lengthy losing streak, Arkansas has turned in quality performances against some of the league’s top teams, including LSU and Tennessee.

ABOUT THE LADY BULLDOGS: While we are tempted to say the answer to the tag is two words — Tasha Humphrey — that overlooks the depth of Georgia and the development of young players like Ashley Houts and Christy Marshall. Andy Lander’s team plays for important seeding points Sunday toward the NCAA tournament.

SENIOR DAY AT GEORGIA: Thanks to a fluke in the SEC schedule, Arkansas participates in its third straight senior day/night. Last Sunday, it was senior brunch at UK. Thursday, senior night at Arkansas and now senior day at UGA.

RARE COMPANY: The five blocks by Lauren Ervin against Tennessee extends the junior’s record for rejection against SEC foes. Ervin now claims the game (6, and her UA high) against Ole Miss and her five moves her to 28 on the SEC season. Shameka Christon was co-holder of the game mark at five, and Christon had 18 during the 2002 season.

ANOTHER SEC MARK CRUSHED: Lauren Ervin has re-written the SEC games rebound record section this season. Her 11 with Tennessee extend her record for most rebounds in SEC games to 125. The mark was 84 by Lonniya Bragg in 2001. Ervin also has season offensive, season defensive, single game total, single game offensive, single game defensive and total in a half.

VAUGHN THREE STEALS FROM MARK: Brittney Vaughn enters Sunday’s game with 29 steals in league games. The school season record is 31 held by Christy Smith in the 1995 league season.

WAYS TO GO, BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE: Brittney needs 10 assists to tie, 11 to break, her older sister’s record of 83 in a single SEC season. Brittney comes in with 73 in her 13 league games, but has gone double digits several times this year.

COSBY BACK: Freshman Donica Cosby was suspended from participation in the Tennessee game following a violation of UA Women’s Athletic Department policy. She returns to the roster for Sunday’s game at Georgia.

SO LET IT BE WRITTEN: Arkansas is done for seeding, locked into the 10 seed courtesy of Auburn’s win over Florida on Thursday.

HERE’S WHAT WE KNOW TODAY: Tennessee is the No. 1 seed of the 2007 SEC Tournament. Florida is the 11th seed, Alabama is the 12, regardless of outcome Sunday. Miss State is the six seed as the Lady Bulldogs hold tiebreaker on Kentucky.

SO WHO IS SEVEN?: Either Kentucky or South Carolina. There are more ways for UK than USC, but here’s how it rolls —

UK def. UF: Seven regardless of any other school outcome. The only team UK can tie is Miss State, and State has the tiebreaker.

UK loss to UF, plus Auburn win, USC loss: Kentucky is the seven again by getting the tiebreaker on Auburn. Auburn gets white jerseys against USC.

UK loss to UF, plus USC win, Auburn loss: This puts UK into the 8-9 game as the eight and USC as the seven thanks to the Gamecocks’ win over UK.

UK loss to UF, plus USC & Auburn wins: Three-way tie at 6-8, and this goes round robin like this: UK and USC are 2-1, AU is 0-2 (and the nine). In the head-to-head tie, since UK and USC split, we go to the top of the standings and work our way down. If we read the tea leaves correctly, this goes to UK by virtue of their win over Ole Miss.

AT THE TOP: Georgia plays Arkansas for solo spot at No. 2. A win locks the Bulldogs to the second seed as UG has tiebreaker over Vanderbilt, the only team that can still tie Georgia.

THE DOOMSDAY SCENARIO: LSU beats Alabama, Ole Miss beats Auburn, Vandy loses to Tennessee and Georgia loses to Arkansas — a four-way tie at 10-4. Don’t even get us started on this tiebreaker.

WASHINGTON DELIVERS ON SENIOR NIGHT: Dominique Washington tied her career and season best with seven three-pointers against Tennessee, including the overtime maker with four seconds left. It is the first time in her two years at Arkansas for the senior to light up Walton Arena. Her previous high game was at Auburn, and her career high scoring game was at Ole Miss.

ERVIN MOVES UP THE CHARTS: With her 11th double of the season, Lauren Ervin continues to move up the career chart for double-double games. The 6-4 junior is solo in third for season doubles, and the most in a season by any player at Arkansas not named Shelly Wallace. She also added to her SEC game mark with her fifth.

SMITH GETS ANOTHER SEC HIGH: Tanisha Smith reset her career best in league games with 13 points versus Tennessee. The 6-1 freshman got Arkansas off to a fast start, hitting her first three field goals as the Lady’Backs blind-sided the second ranked Lady Vols from the tipoff.

VAUGHN JUMPS UP THE ASSIST LADDER: How improved in this area is the junior? Beginning the season, she had 169 assists in her career. So far this season, Vaughn has 168. That brings her to 338 and jumps her from possible entry all the way to No. 6 all-time at Arkansas. She is now ahead of 2007 SEC Tournament Great Honoree, Kimberly Wilson, and Donna Wilson in sixth.

HISTORY MADE: Arkansas takes Tennessee to overtime for the first time in the series history, and the halftime lead of 25-23 was only the third time ever for the Lady’Backs to lead the Lady Vols into the locker room.

BUT WE NEED CLOSURE: Sure, Arkansas took LSU 31 minutes and Tennessee into overtime. Susie Gardner said it best: "It still stinks to lose."

TOTAL PACKAGE FOR ERVIN: Not only Lauren Ervin get 11×11 for a double-double, the 6-4 junior’s defense drove 5-5 against No. 2 Tennessee. Ervin blocked five shots and had five steals.

POWER PACK: Senior Sarah Pfeifer and sophomore Whitney Jones have become a potent tandem on the low post for Arkansas. The pair shared the low lane for a combined 16 points — eight each — against Tennessee.

POWER DRAIN: One impact of Donica Cosby’s one-game suspension was removing a front-line sub for starting point guard Brittney Vaughn. As a result, Vaughn went the distance for her most minutes played — all 45 — in the OT with Tennessee. While she had nine assists, she also had 10 turnovers.

VERSUS GEORGIA: Bulldogs lead the series all-time, 19-3, but in the last four games its been even, 2-2. In Athens, Georgia leads 7-1 and has never lost a SEC game to the Lady’Backs at home. The lone win was in the NCAA tournament from the SWC era.

LAST MEETING WITH UG: As usual, Senior Day was emotional, and inspired defense in the first half left Arkansas even with Georgia, 22-22. In the second half, UA hit five straight three-pointers against the UGA zone to lead by as many as 10 with 12 minutes to play. But the Lady Dogs got on track, leaping from only 33% from the field in the first to 63.3% in the second. Led by 21 points off the bench from Whitney Jones, Arkansas’ underclassmen almost delivered the upset for its six seniors. Fouls and free throws turned the table at the end as Georgia made more free throws in the second half — 24 — than Arkansas shot in the entire game.

LAST TIME IN FAYETTEVILLE: An unusual December SEC game, Arkansas wasn’t able to translate its 9-1 non-conference start into momentum against the Lady Bulldogs. Trailing almost immediately, Arkansas went into halftime down by 21 points, 36-15. The Lady’Backs rallied in the second half, almost tripling their offensive output with 42 in the final frame but Georgia matched Arkansas point-for-point to prevent a comeback.

PFEIFER NAMED ESPN THE MAGAZINE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT: Senior Sarah Pfeifer was voted by the membership of CoSIDA to the first team all-district squad last week, which puts the 5-11 post on the national ballot for ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America. Pfeifer joins rare company with her honor — only two other Lady Razorbacks have made the national ballot. Her coach, Amber Nicholas Shirey, was a two-time academic all-American, while her former teammate, Kristin Peoples, made the third team all-America last season. Pfeifer was a second-team all-district selection as a sophomore, missing last year for injury. She is only the fourth player to ever make the all-district team. Trivia time: who was the fourth? Sally Moore in 1991.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)