FAYETTEVILLE – It was a team effort that propelled the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback basketball team to an easy 74-44 victory over the University of Texas-Pan American Lady Broncs on Sunday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
The win improves the Lady Razorbacks to 6-4 on the season, while UTPA falls to 1-9. Arkansas’ victory is its second in a row and third in its last four matches.
“We played a really good first half,” Arkansas head coach Susie Gardner said. “I’m going to have to make some tough decisions soon with our guard situation. The first 37 minutes were pretty good, but we’re still trying to get better and better. Tomorrow we’ll get back to work.”
Owners of a 22-point lead at the break, the Lady Razorbacks didn’t give Texas-Pan American much to smile about in the second half as they continued to play an up-tempo style that quickly increased their lead. Arkansas’ control of the game also allowed for frequent substitutions by Gardner which she did giving all 11 players double-digit minutes and seven notching at least 15. The increased playing time on all fronts allowed senior Adrienne Bush to net a season high in points with 10 and rebounds six while sophomore Brittany Vaughn scored eight for another season high.
“We have a lot of rotations,” Vaughn said. “With so many we have certain ones we can run under certain situations. We are still working it all out, but we’ll be ready for the the SEC.”
The game opened with a bang for the Lady Razorbacks as they started the contest on a 10-2 run forcing the Lady Broncs to play from behind quickly. Using a combination of good shooting, solid defense and an aggressive uptempo style, the Lady Razorbacks were able to tire their opponent out quickly which led to sloppy play on Texas Pan American’s side and easy baskets for the Lady Razorbacks. Arkansas would score 13 fast break points in the opening period compared to zero by UTPA.
One of the highlights for the Lady Razorbacks in the opening period was the debut of junior Danielle Allen who returned to the team after a semester away from school. Allen made her much anticipated appearance on the court with 12:38 on the clock to the cheers of the 1,903 fans in attendance and it didn’t take long for her hard-nosed style of play to be a factor as she took a charge under the basket just minutes into her 2005-06 season.
“Danielle brings a happiness to the team,” Gardner said. “Her first big play was a charge.”
“It was exciting to be back and the thrill of a lifetime,” Allen said. “Coach gave me more than a chance and those 15 minutes didn’t seem like a lot because I had so much adrenaline.”
While Arkansas did jump out to an early lead, UTPA came back strong and cut the advantage to five before the Lady Razorbacks pushed the advantage to 10 at the 10:22 mark on an Bush layup. Once in double digits, the Lady Broncs struggled to come back as the Arkansas lead increased to 19 over the next five minutes, hit 20 at the 3:08 mark. The first half would end with the Lady Razorbacks owning a 24-point, 44-20, lead
Junior Leslie Howard followed up a 14-point effort against Nicholls State in her first game as a Lady Razorback with a 12-point afternoon to lead Arkansas in scoring. Howard was one of three Lady’Backs in double figures with Bush and Melissa Hobbs each scoring 10. UTPA was led by Devin Reed who scored a game high 13 points.
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Wednesday evening when they host the University of New Orleans at bud Walton Arena. For more information about Lady Razorback basketball or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.