FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas head women’s basketball coach Tom Collen and the Razorbacks close the 2010-11 regular season hosting Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Thursday at 7 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena.
The Razorbacks (18-11) welcome the Cougars (11-18) for what they hope is the final game before a postseason bid in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. Those selections will be announced late Monday.
"I’m certainly glad we have scheduled this game," Collen said. "Otherwise it is almost 16 days without a game. Our spirits are good and we are working hard in practice."
Arkansas goes into the game with a bit of an unknown factor dealing with the loss of junior Lyndsay Harris to injury. The Hoover, Ala., native was a 29-game starter and a dangerous three-point threat for the Razorbacks.
"We are trying to figure out how to adapt without Lyndsay," Collen said. "While we are certainly sad for Lyndsay, this is an opportunity for younger players to step up and get some good minutes."
Harris averaged more than 32 minutes per game and 12.3 ppg this year. Looking to fill those minutes are a handful of players including freshmen Chrisstasia Walter and Yashira Delgado and junior Julie Inman.
"Obviously our objective is to win the game and we are going to put the best lineup we have out there," Collen said. "We don’t have any one player who can fill her 30-35 minutes a game so we’ll use several different players in the game."
The Razorbacks take on a scrappy SIU-E team who has played well in recent games. The Cougars are paced by freshman Jazmin Hill with 13.2 ppg and sophomore Raven Berry with 11.9 ppg this year. SIU-E is a solid three-point shooting team and come to Fayetteville making better than 30 percent from beyond the arc.
"I’m pretty impressed with them," Collen said. "They are well-coached and talented and they face us with two players out. They will challenge us and this will be a game in which we can learn a lot about ourselves."
In addition to Harris, the Razorbacks have been without the services of freshman Keira Peak. Peak was injured in the final minutes of the LSU game and has missed the last three contests.
Tickets for Thursday’s game are just $1 for all fans and can be purchased at the Razorback Ticket Center or on-line at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.