FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team faces Rogers State in exhibition action Sunday at 2 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena.
The contest is the only exhibition game for Arkansas before the Razorbacks officially open the season hosting Elementary Day against Jackson State Friday, Nov. 9, at 11 a.m. As game time nears, both players and coaches are anxious to step out on the court.
“We are ready to start playing and see what we can do,” said senior Sarah Watkins
. “We want to show the fans how hard we’ve been working and we are all looking forward to Sunday.”
Arkansas takes the court this year after losing a senior class that helped the program return to the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
Despite losing nearly 50 percent of the team’s offense from that season, the Razorbacks are not worried. In fact, they are excited about other players having a chance to step up.
Watkins, the senior post from Germantown, Tenn., will be heavily relied upon to lead the team. A preseason All-Southeastern Conference selection, she will be a player opposing teams key on.
She will get help from sophomore Calli Berna
, an All-SEC Freshman team selection from a year ago. Berna, a Fayetteville, Ark., native, was a part-time starter with a lot of minutes logged in her first season.
“I did lots of learning last year,” Berna said. “These first few games, we are going to learn a lot about ourselves and get ready to go for the rest of the season.”
In addition to Watkins and Berna, Arkansas returns seniors Quistelle Williams
, Kelsey Hatcher
and Erin Gatling
. Also back are juniors Keira Peak
and Dominique Robinson
and sophomore Jhasmine Bowen all of whom saw court time last year.
“We are going out there and trying to establish an identity for this team,” Razorback head coach Tom Collen
said. “We have a lot of players who have opportunities to excel and I’m anxious to see who can step and play at a high level.”
Arkansas opens with Jackson State next Friday and follows up with their next five games on the road.