FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The University of Arkansas women's basketball team wraps up the regular season this Thursday at 7 p.m. Arkansas hosts the Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville Cougars at Bud Walton Arena.
"We took time off after the SEC tournament to regroup," Arkansas head coach Tom Collen
said. "We came back and practiced hard, and are focused on SIU - Edwardsville. We want to be in position to go into postseason play. We feel like we're always going to be in postseason play, whether it's the NCAA or WNIT, so we want to have another game to focus on."
The Razorbacks enter the game with an 18-12 record, and were 6-10 in SEC play. Last time out, the Razorbacks met Florida in the first round of the SEC Tournament in Duluth, Ga. Arkansas had four players in double figures (Dominique Wilson
, Keira Peak
, Quistelle Williams
, and Sarah Watkins
) and led Florida by 11 in the second half, but fell 64-59 after a late Gators comeback.
Arkansas has been led by the strong play of three key players -two senior forwards in Watkins and Williams, and sophomore point guard Calli Berna
. Watkins leads the team with 12.8 points per game, and is 13th overall in the SEC in scoring. Berna leads the SEC in assists, with 186 on the season, and averaged an SEC high 39.1 minutes per game during conference play. Williams leads the team with 7.5 rebounds per game in SEC play, good for 10th in the conference.
"We're ready to go play another game," Watkins said. "We're not ready for season to be over. We're ready to get into grind for postseason play. We need to keep our concentration on this game. We are a good team, and we know that, we have just had trouble finishing games."
"We want to get back on court and play as a team well," Berna said. "To get in the groove we need to not take this team lightly. We need to come out ready to get back in the flow of it."
SIU - Edwardsville is 16-14, and 9-7 in the Ohio Valley Conference. It is their first year in the conference and the first season for head coach Paula Buscher. The Cougars had a four game winning streak snapped by a loss to Belmont in the OVC Tournament, and are led by senior center Raven Berry, who averages 14.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.
"They're a good basketball team," Collen said. "They return most of their players from last year. They're aggressive, and run a lot of high ball screen stuff like we do. It will be a competitive game. It's not a throw in game, they're going to want to come in here and take their best shot at us."