A 'Vaughn-derful' afternoon in Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE – A career-high tying 22 points from senior Rochelle Vaughn and a lay-up in the final moments from sister Brittney led the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback basketball team to a come-from-behind 60-58 win against Mississippi State University at Bud Walton Arena on Sunday afternoon. The Arkansas win improves the Lady Razorbacks to 12-6 overall on the year and 4-1 in SEC action while Mississippi State falls to 6-13 overall and 1-5 in the conference. At 4-1, Arkansas is off to its best start in the 15-year history. “You have to be a little lucky in games like this,” Arkansas head coach Susie Gardner said. “We hit our free throws when it counted, but Mississippi State didn’t go away. They shot well and made tough baskets, but somehow we found a way to win.” Mississippi State held the early advantage in the contest, taking a seven-point lead around the 14 minute mark, but a quick timeout and back-to-back threes by Rochelle Vaughn put the Lady’Backs down by three and right back into the game. With a great crowd behind it, Arkansas would claw its way back to within one at the midway point, then tie the contest for the third time, this time at 18 just minutes later. “My teammates did a great job of getting me open today,” Vaughn said. “I think we play hard every day. We were working on being consistent and trying to get better everyday.” Arkansas’ three-point shooting once again was critical as the Lady’Backs hit 11-of-26 from behind the arc. Leading the way was Rochelle Vaughn with six and Howard with four. Howard did not play in the first meeting at Starkville, but had a career high 19 points today. “Leslie had that look in her eye at practice today,” Gardner said. “She carried through this afternoon.” The Lady Razorbacks would own their third lead of the game and first since the 17:57 mark with just 6:55 in the first, but the one-point advantage was short lived as a lay-up by Marneshia Richard gave the bulldogs another lead. The first half would end with the Bulldogs up, 28-26. Arkansas took its first lead of the second half, 39-38, when Rochelle Vaughn hit another three-pointer with 14 minutes to play. Her shot from long range was Arkansas’ 10th of the contest give the Lady Razorbacks double digit three pointers for the fourth time this season. Strong defense was Arkansas’ advantage as the second half progressed allowing the Lady Razorbacks to build a five-point lead for most of the latter stages of the contest. That was until Arkansas’ hot shooting began to cool off and it went without a basket for nearly five minutes which also included four turnovers in that stretch. The Arkansas scoring drought allowed Mississippi State to regain the lead with 1:58 to go when Doceide Warren buried a three from 24 feet. Down by two with the clock under one minute, a miss by the Bulldogs was corralled by freshman Whitney Jones who quickly sent an outlet through four Mississippi State arms to Brittney Vaughn who took the ball up the court. Bearing down on the goal, Vaughn would hit the lay-up and get intentionally fouled tying the game and putting her on the free throw line for two shots. Hitting the first of two, Vaughn missed the second allowing Mississippi State to get a rebound and call a timeout. The ensuing inbound play was stolen by Jones and Arkansas held on for the win thanks to free throws by Rochelle Vaughn and Leslie Howard. The Lady’Backs continue SEC action hosting Florida Thursday, Jan. 26, at 7:00 p.m., in Bud Walton Arena. The game will be televised by COX Sports Florida and Arkansas.