Good morning from Lawrence, Kansas. Tonight @RazorbackWBB takes on Big 12 foe Kansas in historic Allen Fieldhouse. The Hogs have been very fortunate recently, going from the Pit in New Mexico to KU’s home floor and what many consider the preeminent venue for college basketball.
Of course, an arena does not decide the outcome of a game. That depends on the players and, no doubt, Arkansas’ are riding high after beginning the season 8-0. The team boasts the best scoring defense in the entire country and the Hogs are third in the USA, allowing opponents to shoot just 29-percent from the floor. That’s as dominant a defense as any team in the NCAA right now.
Arkansas will need that kind of effort tonight against a Kansas team that has been struggling to find its identity. Do-it-all point guard Angel Goodrich has graduated, along with scoring threat Tania Jackson, from last season’s Sweet 16 team. Now the load has been placed on junior Chelsea Gardner. She’s the team’s leading scorer and rebounder this year.
Another significant factor in this game is that this is the Hogs’ first true road game of the season. With so many freshmen providing big minutes, Arkansas is going to need them to play like veterans in the sense that they’re not intimidated by the opponents’ home arena and fans. What better place to test that out than Allen Fieldhouse?
This game will also be a measuring stick opportunity for the post players. Jhasmin Bowen is coming off of a tournament MVP performance and averaged 17.5 points in two games down in New Mexico. However, Bowen didn’t face the size and strength that she will see tonight. Jessica Jackson is only a freshman, but she won’t be completely new to this kind of competition. Jackson faced Miple Tennessee State earlier this year (a very strong, physical team) and scored a career high 22 points. That fact should bode well for the Razorbacks tonight.
The last true nonconference test for Arkansas tips off at 7 PM tonight. Full coverage begins at 6:45 with the Razorback Courtside Show. As always, I’ll be joined by Jeri Thorpe for the call from Allen Fieldhouse.
As always, hit me up on Twitter (@arperlman) with any thoughts/questions/concerns/comments. Until next time…