FAYETTEVILLE – Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year Tom Collen
leads the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team into action for the final regular season game at SIU-Edwardsville Thursday.
The Razorbacks enter the game with 22-8 overall record and face a much-improved SIU-Edwardsville team who is 18-10 on the year and who also boast their conference coach of the year.
“The team understands this is business as usual,” Collen said. “This is an opportunity to go on the road and prepare for the NCAA Tournament. It is going to be a challenge for us but that is something the team is really looking forward to.”
The Razorbacks have had a solid season and hope they have built up their resume enough to earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas has four wins over ranked teams, won a program-record eight consecutive SEC games. The Razorback also notched a first-round win in the SEC Tournament for the first time for this year’s senior class.
“It is to our advantage to play this game,” freshman Calli Berna
said. “They have a great record and we have to take them seriously and be ready to play.”
“We are going into Edwardsville looking for a win,” senior Ashley Daniels
said. “We want to work out some of the kinks that were exposed in the SEC Tournament and stay in game mode.”
Daniels and Berna are part of a consistent starting lineup that includes seniors C'eira Ricketts
, Lyndsay Harris
, junior Sarah Watkins
and redshirt sophomore Dominique Robinson
They have paced Arkansas to a 61.4 point per game average and are out-scoring opponents by nine points a game.
Edwardsville, meanwhile, is in their second year of transitioning to Division I as a member of the Ohio Valley. They are not eligible for their conference tournament and will be looking at Thursday’s game as their postseason.
“SIUE is a good defensive team and definitely a veteran team,” Collen said. “They did well in their conference and might have been able to win the OVC. I’m sure we are going to get a good game and we’re looking forward to it.”