FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A slate featuring 14 teams that reached the postseason highlights the 2008-09 University of Arkansas Razorback women’s basketball team schedule released today by Razorback women’s head coach Tom Collen.
The Razorbacks, 17-14 last year, host 16 regular season games at Bud Walton Arena this season, including NCAA tournament team SMU in non-conference and national champion Tennessee during Southeastern Conference play.
“We’re excited about the challenge the schedule presents our team,” Collen said. “It may be a little rigorous for such a young team, but I think it will better prepare us for the challenge of the SEC.”
The Razorbacks return six players from last year’s squad, and mix six newcomers into the roster for the 2008-09 season.
“This year will be tough because we have such a young team, but it’s all part of taking our program to another level,” Collen said.
The preseason includes an exhibition game with Rogers State on Nov. 5 and a return of the Red-White Game on Oct. 24.
The Razorbacks open at home with four straight games starting with Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 15, followed by High Point on Nov. 19, SMU on Nov. 21 and Northwestern (Ill.) on Nov. 23.
Arkansas hits the road for the next two weeks with a pair of tournaments sandwiched around a road trip to regional rival Memphis. The first tournament is the Junkanoo Jam on Grand Bahama Island Nov. 28-29.
“The highlight of the schedule is our Thanksgiving trip, not only because it’s to the Bahamas but because of the teams we’re going to face,” Collen said. “We’ll open with a Pac-10 foe in Oregon State, we have the chance to face the ACC and North Carolina on the second day.”
After Memphis Dec. 3, Arkansas heads to NCAA tournament participant Kansas State for the Commerce Bank Wildcat Classic on Dec. 5-6.
“We’re finishing some two-game series this year with Big 12 teams, but we’re starting new ones with teams like Kansas State and Northwestern,” Collen said.
The Razorbacks pick up five more non-conference games at Walton Arena, including WNIT participant Dartmouth on Dec. 18 and Big 12 member Missouri on Dec. 21 before finishing the pre-SEC schedule at Lubbock, Texas, against former Southwestern Conference rival Texas Tech.
“The true strength of this year’s schedule is how it allowed us to eliminate games with teams with very low RPI ratings, which in turn hurt our RPI overall,” Collen said. “Again, it’s all part of getting a young team ready for the challenge of the SEC.”
Conference begins at home on Jan. 8 with Arkansas’ permanent partner in the 14-game SEC schedule, LSU. Arkansas heads to Kentucky on Jan. 11 before hosting the first of two games with rotating Western Division partner Auburn on Jan. 18.
The national champion Lady Vols are at Walton Arena on Jan. 22 before a two-game road trip to Miss State on Jan. 25 and Vanderbilt on Jan. 29.
Arkansas hosts its Eastern Division rotating partner Florida on Feb. 1 to begin the final month. The Razorbacks play home games with South Carolina on Feb. 12, Ole Miss on Feb. 15 and close with senior day against Alabama on Feb. 22.
The SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament returns to North Little Rock and ALLTEL Arena this year on March 5-8.
This season is set to be the final year for the 14-game schedule for SEC women’s basketball with the league going to the same 16-game divisional format as the men’s teams in 2009-10.
Tickets for the 2008-09 Razorback women’s basketball season will go on sale in October, with renewals to season ticket holders beginning soon.
For more information on the Razorback women’s basketball team, go to the official home on the internet of the Razorbacks, ArkansasRazorbacks.com.