CIAO FROM ITALY The Razorbacks enjoyed an early start to the 2013-14 season with a 10-day tour of Italy in mid-August. Arkansas played three games, winning all three contests, against international competition. In addition, the Razorbacks toured several sites and cities including Rome, Florence, Venice and Lake Como. Keira Peak dropped in 21 points leading the Razorbacks to a 77-55 win over the Italian Select team in Pistoria, Italy, in the first game. The Razorbacks were rusty out of the gates and had to adjust to new conditions, including international rules, a very hot gym and the fatigue of travel. The Italian Select team controlled the game early and jumped out to an eight point lead but Arkansas chipped away until they hit a layup at the buzzer to lead at the half. The second half was all Arkansas as the Razorbacks pressed and forced 28 turnovers. The Arkansas offense also heated up shooting 43 percent in the second half. Peak also had nine rebounds to go with her 21 points. Freshman McKenzie Adams had 13 points and eight boards, freshman Jessica Jackson had 12 points and sophomore Melissa Wolff added eight points and seven rebounds in the win. Calli Berna scored 11 points and had nine assists earning MVP honors leading the Razorbacks to an 87-28 win over Vicenza All-Star team just outside of Mestre, Italy, in game two. Arkansas controlled the game from the opening tip taking a 10-0 lead and forcing a quick timeout by their opponent. The Razorbacks kept up the blistering pace of play, pressed and trapped as they shut down the All Stars’ offense for three quarters of play. Kiera Peak paced Arkansas for the second night in scoring with 14 points and nine rebounds while Joey Bailey and Melissa Wolff had 12 points each. Wolff led the team with a14 rebounds as well. Arkansas got nine points each from McKenzie Adams and Kelsey Brooks. The Razorbacks dominated the glass out-rebounding the All-Stars 60-36 while shooting 39.8 percent for the game. Arkansas committed 11 turnovers but forced the All Stars into 34 turnovers for the game. Keira Peak posted 19 points leading four players in double figures in an 88-64 win over Chemcats Chemnitz in Coasta Masnaga, Italy, in the final game. Peak had 19 points along with 15 each from Jhasmin Bowen and Jessica Jackson while Joey Bailey dropped in 12 for the Razorbacks. Arkansas went 3-0 during their Italy Tour. Melissa Wolff and Peak had seven rebounds each as Arkansas out-boarded their opponent 42-33 for the game. Arkansas came out and had a commanding start to the game, leading 51-28 at the half. The Chemcats, however, responded with a 10-0 start to the third frame and cut the lead to single digits before Arkansas regained their composure and took command of the game for the 24-point win.
LUCKY NUMBER 13 The Razorbacks opened the season on a 13-game winning streak going undefeated against non-conference opponents for the 2013-14 season. The 13-game streak was the second longest season opening winning streak trailing only the 15-0 start in 2007-08. Arkansas is 58-2 in non-conference games over the last season seasons and the Razorbacks had won 31 consecutive non-conference games before a loss in the WNIT to end the 2012-13 season.
ARKANSAS MOVED INTO POLL The Razorbacks opened the season with 13 consecutive wins and moved into the top 25 in the USA Today Coaches Poll for the week of Jan. 6. Arkansas began receiving votes in the Associated Press poll Nov. 25 and continued to get votes for seven weeks. They were first mentioned in the USA Today Coaches poll receiving votes Dec. 2. The Razorbacks spent five weeks getting votes before jumping in at No. 25 on Jan. 6.
HOME SWEET HOME, BUD WALTON ARENA Arkansas is 227-84 in 21 seasons in Bud Walton Arena including a 14-3 record in 2013-14. Arkansas has had 21 winning seasons at Bud including 16 seasons with double figure wins. Arkansas has had 14 wins in a single season at Bud three times, including the team’s 14-3 mark this season. The Razorbacks set a record with a 15-4 mark in Bud Walton in the 1998-99 season.
POINTS AT A PREMIUM AGAINST ARKANSAS Arkansas has held all but one (#17/16 TA&M) of its SEC opponents below their scoring averages in 2013-14. Some of the notable displays saw South Carolina come into Bud Walton Arena averaging 77.2 ppg and shooting .492, but held to just 55 points by Arkansas. Florida averaged 78.1 ppg and visited Bud but was held to a season-low 49 points. Mississippi State entered averaging 79.5 ppg and was held to just 54 points in Fayetteville. Kentucky averaged 87.0 ppg, but was held to 68 points, Tennessee averaged 81.2 ppg, and was held to 70 points, South Carolina averaged 75.0 points, and was held to 69. Bama averaged 65.1 ppg and was held to 55 points in the Razorback win. Vanderbilt averaged 74 ppg and was held to 56.
SOOOOOOOO CLOSE Arkansas played 16 SEC games and 10 were decided by seven points or less. Seven of the 16 came down to four points or less. Some of the tightest contests saw the Razorbacks fall at Georgia by two (58-60); defeat Missouri by three (69-66); defeat Ole Miss at home by three (68-65); lose to No. 13/12 South Carolina by four (51-55); lose at home to Miss State by four (50-54); defeat Missouri at home by two (72-70).
RANKING THE RAZORBACKS (March 12, 2014) OFFENSIVELY… * The Razorbacks led the SEC and ranked ninth in the NCAA in turnover margin with a +6,13 mark and also finished the season ranked first in the SEC in assist/turnover ratio at 1.1. * Arkansas tied for third in the SEC for three-point field goals made (177), hitting an average of 5.9 treys per game. * Arkansas tied for fourth in the SEC for three-point field goal percentage (.348). Four different Razorbacks averaged at least .333 shooting from distance, led by Jessica Jackson at 38.4 percent (48-125 3PT). * Arkansas ranked fourth in the SEC in scoring margin, as the Razorbacks outscored opponents by an average of 12.5 points per game. * The Razorbacks finished with either the same amount or more assists than turnovers in 17 games, including a season-high 29 assists and just 13 turnovers against Mississippi Valley State (12/29). * Arkansas shot better than 40 percent in 16 games on the season. The Razorbacks accomplished the same shooting feat just 13 times in 32 games last season. * The Razorbacks scored 70 or more points 12 times this season after doing so 14 times last season. * Sixty was the magic number, as the Razorbacks were 18-2 this season when scoring 60+ points in a game. UA was 7-0 this season when scoring 70-79 points. * Arkansas was 17-1 this season when outscoring its opponent in the second half. * Three’s the key, as the Razorbacks were 16-4 this season when making more three-pointers than its opponent and 2-2 when making the same number.
DEFENSIVELY… * Arkansas led the SEC and finished the season third in the NCAA in scoring defense, trailing only No. 1 UConn the bulk of the season. The Razorbacks are allowing opponents just 54.1 points per game this season. * Arkansas ranked fourth in the SEC in blocked shots averaging 4.6 rejections per game with a total of 139 swat this season. * Arkansas ranked sixth in the SEC in field goal percentage defense. The Razorbacks allowed opponents an average of 38.0 percent shooting this season. * Arkansas held 17 opponents this season to more (or the same number) turnovers than field goals. The most recent occurrence was holding Alabama to just 18 field goals while forcing 25 turnovers and at No. 19/18 LSU where the Tigers had 19 turnovers and 19 field goals. * Arkansas held a total of 11 opponents this season to season-low point totals. The most recent occurrence was holding Florida to just 49 points while defeating the Gators in Fayetteville.
#PEAKPERFORMANCE Senior Keira Peak scored 963 career points, which ranks 27th all-time at Arkansas. She also surpassed the 500 rebound plateau becoming the 23rd player to reach that milestone. Peak finished her career with 611 rebounds and in place 16th in program history.
BERNA ONE OF THE NATION’S BEST Junior Calli Berna was one of 29 student-athletes named as a candidate on the 2014 Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List by the Basketball Hall of Fame on Jan. 15. The award recognizes the top point guard in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball. Candidates exhibit the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills of Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame became the new host of the Nancy Lieberman Award in October 2013 after the Rotary Club of Detroit managed it for several years.
HAVE AN ERASER HANDY Since she stepped onto campus and into the starting lineup at Arkansas, hometown girl Calli Berna has been rewriting the program record books. As a sophomore, Berna posted program records for both single-season assists (208) and SEC-season assists (99). As a junior, Berna was within reach to rewrite both records. She finished the year with 205 assists and 93 in SEC only games — just missing both records. Berna also chased and caught the program’s class record for most assists by a junior in a single season. Amy Wright had 198 career assists as a junior, and Berna surpassed that with 205 assists in 2013-14.
MOVIN’ ON UP Junior Calli Berna finished the season with 205 assists and 501 career assists in three seasons. That moves her into fifth place all-time at Arkansas as she passed Tracy Webb (444, ‘83-87) who moves to sixth place. She needs just six assists to pass Christy Smith (507, ‘94-98) for fourth place all-time. The Arkansas career record for assists is 717 held by Amy Wright (98-02) — a mark that is within reach of Berna next season.
BERN’ING UP THE FLOOR (rankings as of March 12, 2014) Calli Berna ranked second in the SEC with 205 assists this season and is tied for a league-leading 6.8 dimes per game that also ranks seventh in the NCAA. Arguably the most efficient point guard in the NCAA, Berna led the SEC and is 13th in the NCAA for assist/turnover ratio (2.8). Berna had 60 steals and ranked fifth in the SEC averaging 2.0 takeaways per contest. Arkansas is 11-1 in games when Berna dishes out eight or more assists.
PARTY OF THREE The freshman trio of Jessica Jackson, McKenzie Adams and Kelsey Brooks scored in double figures in the same game six times this season. At least two of the three reached double digits in the same contest seven times. The group of true freshmen combined to score 40-50 points six times; 30-40 points eight times; less than 30 points 16 times this season.
ACTION JACKSON (rankings as of March 12, 2014) * Jessica Jackson averaged 16.2 points per game and ranked sixth in the SEC. The highest-ranking freshman scorer in the conference, Jackson is the only freshman among the top 21 scorers in the league and is just one of three underclassmen in the top 15. * Jackson reached double digits in 26 of 30 games this season. She had a double-digit scoring run of 10 straight games earlier this season, which surpassed last year’s best mark of nine straight. * Jackson scored 13+ points in 23 of 30 games this season, including 17 of the last 21 contests. * Jackson recorded four double-doubles this season. Her most recent was 19 points and a career-high 12 rebounds at home against Auburn. * Jackson was also one of the most efficient scorers in the league, ranked 10th in the SEC for field-goal percentage (.423). * Jackson was a three-time SEC Freshman of the Week selection, earning her most recent honor in large part after scoring a career-best 31 points vs. Ole Miss. * As just a freshman, Jackson became the first Razorback to score 31+ points in a game since Dominique Washington scored 37 as a junior (2005-06). Just three Razorbacks have put up 31+ point performances dating back to the 2002-03 season.
LEAGUE HONORS JACKSON To say that Jessica Jackson was a standout is an understatement. The freshman from Jacksonville, Ark., has made a name for herself at Arkansas and with the SEC in just one season. Jackson earned three SEC Freshman of the Week honors, was named to the All-SEC Second-Team and was a member of the All-SEC Freshman Team in 2013-14. Jackson finished the year leading the team in scoring with 16.2 points-per-game, blocks with 45, rebounds with 6.0 rebounds-per-game, an .804 free throw percentage and 181 total boards and three-point field goals with 162. She is second for the Razorbacks in minutes played with 903 minutes on the year. Jackson’s numbers are equally impressive in the conference-only games where she again led Arkansas with 16.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 22 blocks, 28 three-pointers made and an .849 free throw percentage. Jackson posted 26 of30 games in double digit scoring including 17 of the last 21 with 13 or more points. She has scored 20 or more points seven times last year and had a career-best 31 points in a regular season win over Ole Miss. Jackson ranked seventh in the SEC and is the highest ranking freshman in the league in scoring. She had four double-doubles and was a three-time SEC Freshman of the Week selection.
BAILEY HONORED BY SEC Redshirt sophomore Joey Bailey was named to the SEC Community Service Team in 2013-14. In addition to classes and being a member of the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team, the forward also serves as the vice president of the Arkansas Student-AthleteAdvisory Committee (SAAC). An active member on campus a few of Baileys service projects include raising funds and helping elementary school kids pick out toys for "Shop with SAAC," volunteering with Razorback for a Day and taking kids on tours of Bud Walton Arena and the Academic Center, attending FCA, attending a birthday party for team fan with cerebral palsy. The native of Gunter, Texas, has also been active in the community of Northwest Arkansas and has given backto a number ofcauses and public events.She participated in the Sweat Hawgs program which aims to get elementary students to play at least 30 minutes a day, spoke to Farmington school during lock in on "Motivation," read books to kids at Holcombe Elementary, volunteered at Butterfield Elementary Fall Carnival andplayed with local school kids for MLK Day.Bailey participated with teammatesin First Thursday on the Square, attended special Olympics softball game, handed out candy on the square for Halloween anddelivered groceries to families in need for Thanksgiving. Bailey also has helped raise money and wrap presents for "Adopt a Family" for Christmas, went Christmas caroling at the Home-Style Assisted Living Center in Springdale, Ark., served ice cream and visited seniors at Butterfield Senior Centerand delivered Christmas baskets to Seniors at Center Street Church of Christ.