FAYETTEVILLE - The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team begins play in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament on Thursday, participating in the event for the sixth time. The Razorbacks are looking to continue a successful past at the event, building on a career 13-4 record that includes a championship.
The Razorbacks first appearance was extremely successful, reeling off five consecutive wins at Bud Walton Arena en route to being crowned champions of the 1999 WNIT. Arkansas knocked off Northwestern State, Oklahoma, Rice, and Drake to reach the title game. In the finals, the Razorbacks beat Wisconsin 67-64 in front of 14,161 home fans, than a record for WNIT attendance.
Arkansas followed that up with another strong run the next year, advancing to the semifinals before falling to Florida. The Razorbacks made three more subsequent journeys to the WNIT, in 2005, 2009, and 2011. In their most recent appearance, 2011, the Razorbacks defeated Lamar, Missouri State and Oral Roberts before falling in the quarterfinals at Illinois State.
The Razorbacks host Memphis in the first round of this year’s tournament, before advancing to face the winner of Tulane versus Sam Houston State. Arkansas is 5-0 all-time in WNIT first round games, and 9-3 all-time against the Tigers, who will be making their third consecutive WNIT appearance. Head coach Tom Collen will coach in his fifth career WNIT, and his third with the Razorbacks. Arkansas is one of four SEC teams in the WNIT field, and holds an overall record of 4-3 this year against teams in the WNIT.
This WNIT berth represents the third straight season that Arkansas has advanced to the postseason. After participating in the WNIT in 2011, the Razorbacks made the NCAA Tournament last season. At the NCAA Tournament, the Razorbacks won their first round game against Dayton, 72-55, before falling at Texas A&M, 61-59.
Tickets for Thursday’s contest are available by contacting the Razorback Ticket Center at 479-575-5151 or purchasing them on-line at ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Tickets will be $6 for youth, $7 for general admission, $11 for reserved seating and $1 for UA students.