FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team faces Dayton in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament in a game televised on ESPN2.
The Razorbacks (23-8) meet Dayton (23-6) for the fifth time in program history and the first time since 2001. The ESPN Family of Networks will televised all 63 tournament games and they also air on ESPN3.com.
Arkansas’ first round game is scheduled for a 3:05 p.m. tip followed by the No. 3 Texas A&M/No. 14 Albany game which tips about 30 minutes later.
The Razorbacks played their way into the NCAA Tournament by virtue of a good 2011-12 “resume” that included wins over four ranked opponents, eight consecutive Southeastern Conference regular season wins, a program-best 10-6 record and tie for fourth place in the league and a 23-8 overall record. Arkansas had a strong schedule and finished No. 33 in the NCAA RPI released before the selections.
Dayton enters the NCAA Tournament with a 22-6 record and a 12-2 mark in conference play. The winner of the Arkansas/Dayton game faces the winner of defending national champion Texas A&M and Albany on the Aggies home floor. That game is scheduled for Monday, March 19, at 8:30 p.m. central.
The trip to the NCAA Tournament is the first for current head coach Tom Collen
at Arkansas. Collen is making his eighth appearance in the tournament in 14 years as a head coach. He guided Arkansas to a pair of WNIT appearances with the Razorbacks reaching the quarterfinals last season.
The NCAA Tournament appearance is the first for this year’s five-member senior class and the first since the 2003 season when the Razorbacks reached the second round. That senior class includes Ashley Daniels
, Lyndsay Harris
, Julie Inman
, C'eira Ricketts
and Jamesha Townsend
Ricketts was a first-team All-SEC selection joining second-team pick junior Sarah Watkins
and all-freshman team selection Calli Berna
. Inman was named to the SEC Community Service Team.
As a program, the Razorbacks are 12-9 all-time in the NCAA Tournament with the best finish coming in 1998. That season, the Razorbacks reached the Final Four becoming the lowest seeded team (No. 9) to reach the semifinals.
This year’s tournament field of 64 teams features eight teams from the SEC. Tennessee earned the conference’s automatic bid after defeating LSU in the finals of the SEC Tournament last week. Also in from the SEC are Kentucky, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Vanderbilt. The Razorbacks defeated Tennessee, LSU, South Carolina, Florida and Vanderbilt during the regular season.
The NCAA Tournament concludes with the Final Four April 1 and 3 in Denver, Colo. Check ArkansasRazorbacks.com throughout the week for more information and stories as they become available.