COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team went through its final full practice before taking on Dayton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in College Station, Texas.
The Razorbacks (23-8) take on the Flyers (23-6) winners of the Atlantic 10 Championship, at 3 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2 as part of the network’s whip around coverage.
“We have always had the NCAA Tournament as our goal,” said Razorback head coach Tom Collen
. “We would have liked to have been here sooner but we had to let our senior class grow up. We play great competition night in and night out to prepare for this competition.”
Arkansas is paced by a strong senior class that includes the team’s leading scorer C'eira Ricketts
, Lyndsay Harris
and Ashley Daniels
, all of whom start for the Razorbacks. Jamesha Townsend
and Julie Inman
come in from the bench.
“This event is different pressure and a different experience,” said Collen. “Our seniors are a pretty confidence bunch and I expect them to rise to the occasion this weekend.”
“There really isn’t any added pressure for this game,” said Harris. “We are new to this (the NCAA Tournament) but we have worked hard all year with this goal in mind. It is exciting and new but we are going to attack it head on like we have all of the other games.”
Arkansas enters the game ranked 10th in the country in scoring defense, an area that the Razorbacks have put a lot of emphasis on all season.
“We are a team that prides ourselves on our defense,” said Daniels. “We work hard and our defense leads us to wins.”
Dayton and Arkansas play a similar style game with both teams utilizing the high ball screen offense. The Flyers hold opponents to 59.7 points a game while scoring 70.7 ppg in a very balanced offense that goes nine or 10 players deep.
“Dayton is well balanced,” Collen said. “They play several players who score five or six a game. They are very talented and underrated coming into this tournament. They are much better than their 11th seed. Their balance and depth are their strengths and could be key factors in the game.”
The winner of the Arkansas/Dayton game faces the winner of the Texas A&M/Albany game on Monday.