|Georgia Tech’s Milli Martinez, right, drives on Arkansas’ Celia Anderson, left, during the quarterfinals of the women’s NIT at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark., Tuesday, March 21, 2000. (AP Photo/April L. Brown)|
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Mar. 21) – Center Celia Anderson scored 10 second-half points off the bench, and Arkansas’ defense held Georgia Tech to two field goals and forced six turnovers in the final 7:14 to lift the Razorbacks to a 78-67 win Tuesday night in the quarterfinals of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament at Bud Walton Arena.
The Yellow Jackets ended their season with a record of 17-14, while the Lady Razorbacks improved to 17-14 and advanced to a semi-final game against Florida at home against Saturday.
Anderson, a 6-1 junior, did not play in the game until 13:03 remaining in the second half and immediately made her presence felt with four baskets, including two three-point plays, in her first five minutes of play. Her final bucket gave the Razorbacks a 58-54 lead with 8:38 to go.
After Tech rallied briefly to take a 58-57 lead on two free throws by Nina Barlin with 7:14 remaining, Arkansas scored the next 10 points on six free throws by Brandi Whitehead and a pair of layups by Lonniya Bragg for a 68-59 advantage. Shackled by the Razorbacks pressure defense, Tech could come no closer than seven points after that, managing field goals from Alex Stewart and Danielle Donehew and five free throws from Barlin.
Arkansas salted away the game by hitting 14 of 18 free throws in the last seven minutes.
“Arkansas’ defense just took us out of it,” said head coach Agnus Berenato. “It was like a blitz with their man-to-man. We weren’t able to penetrate and break the perimeter.
“Physically, we were not able to handle Bragg and Anderson (in the second half). They had several pounds on us in the post. Arkansas did a nice job. I’m proud of our team. We have a very young team, but we’re happy to have gotten this far.”
Bragg led five Razorbacks in double figures with 18 points, hitting 9-for-9 from the field. The other four all came off the bench, including India Lewis with 14, Dana Cherry with 12, Whitehead with 11 and Anderson with 10.
Arkansas shot 53.8 percent for the game, including 57.1 percent in the first half as the Razorbacks shook off an 11-2 start by Tech to lead 35-34 at the break.
Barlin paced Tech with 16 points, while Amy Lingenfelder scored 10 and Milli Martinez came off the bench to add 12.