BATON ROUGE -- Four Arkansas players scored in double-figures and the Razorbacks took advantage of 27 LSU turnovers as the Lady Tigers, playing without two starters due to injury, dropped their third straight game, 72-52, in front of 6,161 fans on Sunday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU (13-6, 4-3 SEC) fell into a tie with South Carolina for fourth place in the conference standings with nine games left on the schedule. The Lady Tigers were playing without senior point guard Destini Hughes and sophomore guard Jeanne Kenney. Both sustained injuries in Thursday's loss at Tennessee. Hughes is out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL and Kenney was recovering from a concussion.
Arkansas (14-5, 3-4) won its third straight game and its second consecutive by double-digit fashion against a quality conference foe. The Razorbacks, who crushed Vanderbilt on Thursday, defeated LSU for the third consecutive time. Arkansas swept the season series last season and rode a 47.5 percent shooting effort, including 8-of-11 from three-point range, for the win. LSU came into the contest with the nation's fourth-best field goal percentage defense.
"I give a lot of credit to Arkansas for really sticking to their game plan of defensively coming in and disrupting us and forcing us into 27 turnovers," said LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. "I thought that was a very telling statistic in the outcome of this game, because with those turnovers they were able to convert about 30 points."
Courtney Jones led LSU with 14 points - her third straight double-figure game - and a game-high seven rebounds with three steals. Adrienne Webb chipped in 11 points and buried a three to tie Allison Hightower for seventh place in LSU career threes with 108.
Arkansas' Lyndsay Harris scored a game-high 17 points and buried 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Ashley Daniels contributed 10 points and Dominique Robinson and C'eira Ricketts had 10 points apiece. The Razorbacks scored 29 points off turnovers and took complete control of the game in the final seven minutes of the first half.
LSU held a 17-11 lead following Sheila Boykin's layup with 11:06 to go in the stanza, but the Lady Tigers went the final 11 minutes with only two made field goals. Robinson's three culminated an 11-0 Arkansas run at the 6:28 mark and the deficit grew to double digits on back-to-back threes with just under three minutes to go. The Razorbacks led comfortably, 38-22, at the half.
The three-point barrage continued in the first 20 seconds of the second half when Harris knocked down another. Arkansas held its largest lead, 54-29, on Daniels' jumper with 13:04 left in the game. The Lady Tigers got the deficit to within 14 points following a three from Webb and a bucket from LaSondra Barrett, but it came in the final two minutes.
LSU out-rebounded Arkansas, 32-25, and the Lady Tigers finished at 45.7 percent shooting for the game.
"We were not in a comfortable role as far as bringing the ball down the floor, or playing 12 or 15 feet from the basket," said Caldwell. "I also felt that we didn't play. Our mindset changed. For the whole second half of the Tennessee game, we played with a big lineup. I asked them what changed, and the majority of the response was that their mindset and attitude toward that game changed."
LSU will depart Monday afternoon for Johnson City, Tenn., as the Lady Tigers step out of SEC play and take on East Tennessee State at 6 p.m. CT Tuesday.
HEAD COACH NIKKI CALDWELL
Opening statement ...
"I give a lot of credit to Arkansas for really sticking to their game plan of defensively coming in and disrupting us, forcing us into 27 turnovers. I thought that was a very telling statistic in the outcome of this game, because with those turnovers they were able to convert about 30 points. Even though we have players that are playing so called out of position and away from the basket, there are still certain things that you have to be able to do as a player within any system. That's obviously to handle the basketball and pass the basketball. We're going to definitely continue to work on those areas of concern so we can eliminate putting ourselves in this type of situation."
On Arkansas ...
"Watching Arkansas, you look at the games that they've played. We typically scout four or five tapes out. Looking at four or five games, you can see they're very capable, and they're a very well-coached team. The thing that was a major concern was after you come off a game like Tennessee, and after you lose Destini (Hughes) and Jeanne (Kenney), our two best guard leaders, not only on the court but off the court, you worry about the disruption of the leadership. We obviously lost that. I thought that was an area of major concern. We were not in a comfortable role as far as bringing the ball down the floor, or playing 12 or 15 feet from the basket. I also felt that we didn't play. Our mindset changed. For the whole second half of the Tennessee game, we played with a big lineup. I asked them what changed, and the majority of the response was that their mindset and attitude toward that game changed. So that's what you worry about when you play so high and it's such a big game like Tennessee."
Sr. F Courtney Jones
On missing teammates...
"I think we missed that spark that Destini (Hughes) and Jeanne (Kenney) bring to the team. They have a lot of knowledge when it comes to guarding and defending, and they can make those passes and dribble drive to the goal."
On the defense...
"We have changed our defense a couple of times throughout the game, but I don't think that should affect us playing out of position. We go over everything in practice so it is all about effort. "
On the game...
"As a team we were more bothered by turnovers and our offense. We let our offense control us, and we weren't making the shots we wanted and we weren't making the easy passes. "
On what the team has to do to bounce back...
"We have to come back tomorrow ready to practice and be open minded. We need to bring our 100 percent effort like we did against Tennessee and the other big teams we have played. We have to get back to what we know."
Arkansas Head Coach Tom Collen
"It was obviously a great game for us. I don't know whether we took LSU by surprise or not. Certainly we are well of the situation that they found themselves in, losing their starting point guard and then losing probably their backup point guard who would have played tonight. We realized that but this is a competitive league and we felt like for us to have a chance to win the game we were going to have to take advantage of that situation. I felt like we did a pretty good job. We pressured the ball hard, we made them turn it over and we felt like we could get into a zone against them and force them to beat us from the outside. They were a little reluctant to shoot the ball from there. We had to find a way to stay even with them on the boards because we knew they were going to play a big lineup. Our pressure picked up, we shot the ball well against their match up, obviously scored more points than they are used to having scored against them and our kids got more confident as the game went on. It was a great win for us. I know LSU is going to bounce back from this. They got to find a way to do it. When they get (Jeanne) Kenney they will probably be ok."
On the play of the defense...
"It starts at the defensive end for us. That has been something that has been very steady for us. I checked the SEC stats every week. From the beginning of the season I felt like we were playing as good of defense as we could possibly play and then I look at the SEC stats and LSU and South Carolina were holding their opponents to less points and lesser field goal percentage. It was hard for me to imagine anybody was playing any better defense than we were playing throughout the course of the year. We take a great deal of pride in it. We played some good offensive teams in our first three games of the year in Kentucky and Georgia road and then Tennessee at home. We took a beat down a little bit in our confidence. We remained confident on the defensive end and that has been the difference maker for us. Now that we have that back the ball is starting to fall in the basket for us."