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Short-handed Arkansas gives Ole Miss its best shot

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Short-handed Arkansas gives Ole Miss its best shot

OXFORD, Miss. – Sophomore Danielle Allen had career highs and her first double-double of her Arkansas career but it wasn’t enough as the Lady Razorbacks fell to the University of Mississippi Lady Rebels, 85-73, in Southeastern Conference women’s basketball Sunday afternoon. Arkansas, 10-4, drops to 0-3 in SEC play while Ole Miss, 11-4, evened its league slate at 1-1. On an afternoon filled with notable achievements, Allen and Sarah Pfeifer would have traded their personal stats for the win. Ole Miss remains perfect against Arkansas in Tad Smith Coliseum in 10 tries. The two played summer ball on the same team throughout high school, but Sunday’s game was the first time they had been called upon at Arkansas to team in the post. Allen had career highs for points and rebounds with 22 points to lead all scorers and 10 rebounds. Pfeifer had her best SEC game of the year with 15 points off the bench and 24 minutes played. With starting post Kristin Moore out for the year with a torn ACL and Ruby Vaden playing only four minutes due to foul trouble, UA head coach Susie Gardner was forced to go to her hometown tandem. “In reality, we’re 5-11 and 5-11 in there, and we had to sacrifice a lot of size to Ole Miss,” Gardner said. “But it’s something that I think we’re going to have to deal with the rest of the year. I think they proved that we need to play them more together, and when we get back on the practice court that’s something we’re going to put more focus on.” Ole Miss took full advantage as sophomore Armintie Price had a double-double of 17 points and 17 rebounds and 6-3 Lady Rebel center Amber Watts had 21 points and 12 rebounds. For the game, Ole Miss outrebounded Arkansas, 58-38, pulling down 25 offensive rebounds. The teams traded momentum most of the second half as Ole Miss exploited the Lady’Backs’ lack of size and foul problems on the inside while the Lady’Backs forced tempo with the Lady Rebels’ starting guard Carletta Brown out with an injury. Arkansas held Ole Miss to only 29.4% from the field in the second half, and cashed in 17 turnovers for 22 points. Forced by Vaden’s quick fouls, Gardner went with the diminutive tandem of Pfeifer and Allen in the post. It worked as the Lady’Backs used seven straight from Pfeifer then nine straight from Allen to close the gap to six, 73-67, with 5:03 to play. “I thought we had a chance to win at that point,” Gardner said. “We fought, and fought, and fought to get back and it felt like the momentum was with us.” Arkansas had two chances to cut the lead further, but a pair of missed shots allowed Ole Miss to regroup and close out the second half as they did the first with a 15-6 run fueled by free throws. For the game, Ole Miss hit 25-of-43 at the stripe, led by Watts with 13-of-16. Arkansas had a season-high 31 fouls with Pfeifer fouling out of the game in the final minute and five other Lady’Backs including Allen with four. Arkansas got off to is best start this year with a 9-6 lead thanks to a back-to-back three-pointers by Rochelle Vaughn. Ole Miss clamped down on the Lady’Backs, forcing several turnovers and holding Arkansas scoreless the next three minutes. The resulting 8-0 run put the Lady Rebels ahead, 14-9, with 14:22. Allen went on a scoring spree for Arkansas, hitting three straight jumpers, to get the Lady’Back offense back on track. Ole Miss regained control with back-to-back inverted three-point plays as Dee Forest missed the second half of two free throws, but Ashley Johnson and Jada Mincy picked up the missed throws for stickbacks. Forest capped the Lady Rebel run with a conventional three-point play and a 10-point lead, 36-26, with 4:29 in the half. Arkansas came alive forcing three straight UM turnovers leading to a 9-0 run based on three-pointers. Vaughn hit the first two before Melissa Hobbs sank her trey to cut the spread to one, 36-35, 2:48. Ole Miss prevented any further comeback with a 10-2 run to finish the half ahead, 47-36. Arkansas shot 50% for the first half, the best open in several games for the Lady’Backs, and shot 41.8% for the game. One area that hurt the Lady’Backs in the second half was three-point shooting as Arkansas hit 6-of-13 in the first half but managed only 1-of-11 in the second half. Along with Allen and Pfeifer, Arkansas had 17 points from Rochelle Vaughn. Ole Miss had a total of five in double digits, with Brown and Johnson scoring 13 and Forrest off the bench with 11. The Lady’Backs return to Fayetteville to prepare for next Thursday’s game at Tennessee on Jan. 13.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)