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Time runs out on Arkansas at USC 61-52

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Time runs out on Arkansas at USC 61-52

COLUMBIA, SC – Arkansas’ luck in the final minute in Southeastern Conference games ran out at the Colonial Center as South Carolina hung on for a 61-52 win Sunday afternoon. Arkansas, 13-7, drops to 5-2 in conference play while the Gamecocks (11-8) pick up their second league win. Leslie Howard led Arkansas with 13 points followed by a season-high 12 from Danielle Allen. “We had a chance,” UA head coach Susie Gardner said. “In the past games, we’ve found a way to win but today, we made some errors. We just didn’t make the big play today.” One of the tallest front lines in the SEC allowed USC to dominate in the lane. Ranked third in the nation in rebound margin and 10th in the nation in field goal percentage defense, the Gamecocks clamped down on Arkansas’ potent three-point shooting game. “They switched on the screens and we didn’t execute,” Howard said. “We still found a way to fight back and stay in the game, but sometimes it doesn’t fall and we didn’t execute at the end.” Carolina exploited its interior power for a 46-16 scoring advantage in the paint. “Every team in the conference is bigger than us, and like coach says, our posts aren’t going to grow in the next three hours,” Bush said. “We didn’t do the things that we needed today to help our inside game.” Arkansas battled to gain the lead in the second half, cutting USC’s four-point halftime spread to one twice, but timely Gamecock buckets prevented the Lady’Backs from going ahead. As Arkansas’ leading scorers in SEC games were shuttered by USC, Allen and Bush stepped up to provide clutch baskets. Bush created back-to-back scoring opportunities to bring Arkansas back within two, 49-47, with 4:39 left. The senior hit two free throws, then picked Stacy Booker’s pocket for a breakaway layup. Unfortunately, Melanie Johnson responded with back-to-back layups for USC to put the Gamecocks back in control, 53-47. Carolina jumped out to a quick lead, but Arkansas used a 7-2 run finished by a driving layup from Danielle Allen put the Lady’Backs up, 7-6. The teams traded leads until USC launched a 13-0 run paced by five points from Johnson to build a 10-point spread, 21-11, with seven minutes left in the first half. The lead for USC came as a result of scoring drought of almost five minutes by Arkansas. A pair of free throws from Rochelle Vaughn snapped the slump with 6:38 in the half, but USC maintained its lead going into halftime, 29-25. Allen scored eight first half points to lead Arkansas, which was more points than the six points the former starting forward had in her previous three games played this season combined. Poor shooting, particularly from behind the arc, kept Arkansas in the hole. Hitting only 38.5% overall and 16.7% for threes, the Lady’Backs had their worst half of three-point shooting in SEC play with only one made and six attempts. USC used its tremendous height advantage to pound the ball inside, scoring 24 of its 29 first half points in the lane. For the game, Johnson led USC with 15 points followed by 12 from Lea Fabbri. Arkansas returns home to Fayetteville to face SEC leader LSU on Thurday night at 7 p.m.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)