FAYETTEVILLE – First-ever home games with Indiana and Oregon, a tournament date with Purdue and a high-profile appearance at the Russell Athletics Shootout highlight the 2004-05 University of Arkansas Lady Razorback basketball schedule, head coach Susie Gardner announced today.
“I’m very excited about this schedule, particularly the home schedule,” Gardner said. “Obviously, we have a lot more home games, but more important is the fact we’re playing some of the top teams in the country at home.”
Arkansas hosts 16 home dates including preseason games for the 2004-05 season, up from only 11 regular season games last season, with several high-profile names to join the Southeastern Conference regulars Tennessee, LSU and Ole Miss.
The Lady Razorbacks host Indiana on Dec. 1 and Oregon on Dec. 21 at Bud Walton Arena along with women’s basketball powerhouse Western Kentucky on Nov. 28.
“We’re playing some of the top teams from conferences from across the country, and I think it’s very important for our players to experience different types of play,” Gardner said. “The styles of play are very different in say the Pac 10 compared to the Big 10.”
Arkansas gets a taste of that variety early in the schedule with Big 10 power Purdue in the opening round of the Flint Hills Resources Islander Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Thanksgiving night. The Lady’Backs also rematch their 2003 NCAA tournament game at Cincinnati on Jan. 2 at the Fifth-Third Arena.
Arkansas’ inclusion in the Russell Athletics Shootout on Sunday, Feb. 13, required a change in the Southeastern Conference schedule. The Lady’Backs take on the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets as a part of the SEC vs. Atlantic Coast Conference doubleheader set for the Gwinnett Arena in north of Atlanta in Gwinnett, Ga. Georgia meets Clemson in the other half of the shootout, and as a result, the two teams will begin SEC play on Dec. 30 at Athens. This marks the first time since the new 14-game schedule for a December league game for Arkansas.
“The Shootout has a big game atmosphere and gives us a chance to be on television at an event that catches national attention,” Gardner said.
ALLTEL Arena also returns this season to the Lady’Back schedule as Arkansas faces Louisiana-Lafayette in North Little Rock on Dec. 16. The all-time attendance record setting host of the 2003 SEC Women’s Tournament, ALLTEL regains the event in 2006.
The preseason includes the annual Red-White Game on Oct. 28 and two exhibition contests. The Lady’Backs face Everyone’s Internet on Nov. 5 and Athletes in Action on Nov. 11.
The regular season begins with consecutive home dates, Nov. 19 against Alabama State and Nov. 21 versus Centenary, before heading to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for the Islander’s holiday classic. After facing Purdue on Thanksgiving, the Lady’Backs play either Idaho State or TAMU-CC on Nov. 26.
A three-game set follows with Western Kentucky on Nov. 28, then Indiana on Dec. 1 and Wichita State on Dec. 3. Arkansas heads into final exams with a road trip to Memphis on Dec. 7 before the ALLTEL game Dec. 16.
Along with the Oregon and Cincinnati games in non-conference action, Arkansas plays at Missouri-Kansas City on Jan. 25.
Following the SEC opener at Georgia, the Lady’Backs begin conference play at Walton Arena on Jan. 6 against Florida. Arkansas has home SEC dates with Miss State (Sunday, Jan. 16), South Carolina (Sunday, Jan. 23), Ole Miss (Sunday, Jan. 30) and Alabama (Thursday, Feb. 10) before finishing the year with back-to-back games at Walton against the SEC’s 2004 Final Four teams, Tennessee on Sunday, Feb. 20, and LSU on Thursday, Feb. 24.
Arkansas’ road league games are at Ole Miss (Jan. 9), Tennessee (Jan. 13), LSU (Jan. 20), Auburn (Feb. 3), Vanderbilt (Feb. 17) and Kentucky (Feb. 27).
Season tickets for the 2004-05 go on sale in October, with renewals for current season ticket holders set for late September. Season ticket prices are $90.00 for adults, $80.00 for seniors or youth. Individual game tickets for SEC contests will be $10 this season for reserved seats, while all non-conference games are $8.00. General admission for adults is $6 for non-conference games, $8.00 for SEC.
For more information on Lady Razorback basketball, go to the official website for Arkansas women’s athletics at www.ladybacks.com.