FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Arkansas Razorbacks send out the old year with a noon tipoff on Dec. 31st against the Hatters of Stetson at Bud Walton Arena.
Coach Lynn Bria is in her first season at Stetson, and she brings a short roster into its first game back from a lengthy holiday break. The Hatters have 10 players, and all but one has started so far in the first 10 games of the season. Only one player — Jessica Bivins — has started all 10 games. Sharnesha Smith is the team’s leading scorer with 11.9 ppg and nine of 10 starts. Smith also leads the team with 4.9 assists per game and is second on the team in steals with 2.1 per game.
While Arkansas was cranking back up after eight days off with Monday’s contest with Western Illinois, the Hatters have been off since Dec. 22 — an nine-day hiatus.
In the first 10 games, Stetson has a lead on the conference race with a 2-0 mark in December league games. Arkansas won’t start SEC action until next Thursday with LSU.
The Razorbacks are undefeated while ringing in the new year at 2-0.
Arkansas’ offense was a little holiday rusty on Monday, but the defense clamped down on Western Illinois to start the second half. The Westerwinds huffed and puffed, but for 6:38 couldn’t put the ball in the hoop and for 8:14 could not score a field goal. Meanwhile, Arkansas put together a 15-1 run.
Charity Ford missed the game with Missouri, and did not dress after her leg injury against Dartmouth. As dramatic as it appeared when Ford collided with a Dartmouth player and landed awkwardly on her left leg, the junior guard got a clean bill of health at the doctors. She returned to the court for Western Illinois, turning in 24 minutes.
After today’s game, the Razorbacks head to Texas Tech for the final non-conference game of the year, a 2 p.m. contest at Lubbock. The game will be televised live in northwest Arkansas on Cox Sports Television. Check you local cable listings.