HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Sophomore Rochelle Vaughn poured in a career high 22 points to lead the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback basketball team to a 78-62 victory against the Northwestern State Lady Demons at the Summit Arena in Hot Springs, Ark., on Thursday evening in front of a season high crowd of 3,689.
The win improves the Lady Razorbacks to 6-2 on the season and 2-0 in the state of Arkansas while Northwestern State falls to 5-2.
“It was an awesome crowd tonight,” Arkansas head coach Susie Gardner said. “You could really feel the excitement. Both Hot Springs players played well. I told Shameka (Christon) to make this a memory of a lifetime and I didn’t sense any nervousness from her.”
For the Lady Razorbacks it was the hometown hero, Christon, that put Arkansas on the board first. After nabbing an offensive board, Arkansas was able to get the ball to the top of the key where Christon buried a 15-foot jumper for the game’s first points.
“It felt really good to play at home,” Christon said. “It was really good to be home.”
Arkansas used the pro-Lady Razorback crowd to its advantage throughout the first half, but despite its best efforts could not seem to put away the Lady Demons, who never got more than two buckets away. Arkansas rallied around Vaughn who led the Lady’Backs with 15 of their 37 points in the opening period. Christon was also active as she scored eight and pulled down six boards.
The second half began with Arkansas opening a double-digit lead, a lead they would not relinquish. Behind Vaughn’s stellar play on both ends of the floor and solid rebounding, Arkansas used its speed and athleticism to wear down its opponent. For the game, Arkansas forced 21 Northwestern State turnovers which led to 21 Lady Razorback points.
Northwestern State’s normally high-powered offense was held to a mere 62 points, 17 under their season average, as the Lady Demons were only able to muster a 40-percent shooting percentage. Northwestern State’s La’Terrica Dobin was nearly unstoppable at the point, tallying 18 points to lead the Lady Demons. Northwestern State’s hometown product, Katrina Swanigan, scored 16 for the Lady Demons.
“Defense is what really kept us going tonight,” Christon said. “It made a big difference down the stretch.”
For the Lady Razorbacks, it was a balanced attack that saw eight players score at least four points with two players notching double digit performances. Behind Vaughn’s 22, Christon nearly matched her season average with 20. Christon also led all rebounders with nine.
“Rochelle stepped up,” Gardner said. “She really stepped up and kept us in the game tonight. She played really well.”
The Lady Razorbacks are back in action on Saturday, Dec. 20, when they travel to Bloomington, Ind., to take on the Indiana University Hoosiers at 6:00 p.m.