FAYETTEVILLE – First-year head coach Tom Collen has the University of Arkansas off to its best start in school history and according to one of the nation’s top recruiting services the Lady Razorbacks the future is bright with a top 25 ranked class.
All-Star Girls Report has Arkansas ranked 23rd in the country based on the five players signed during the fall early period. Among the Southeastern Conference teams, Arkansas ranked third behind Tennessee and LSU. The Lady’Backs, UT and LSU were the only SEC teams with top 25 ranked recruiting classes.
“We are very excited about our first recruiting class at Arkansas, and to have others think as highly of our future Lady Razorbacks is outstanding,” Collen said. “I think it’s a good sign when our program can go out sign the third best class in the SEC.”
Two of Arkansas’ signees are top 100 according to All-Star Girls Report with Hoover, Ala., shooting guard Lyndsay Harris at 81st and Louisville, Ky., point guard Cierra Ricketts at 82nd.
Harris led her Hoover High team to the title at the recent Tournament of Champions hosted in Fort Smith, Ark., earlier this month. Harris was the MVP with a 39 point game in the semifinals that included a tournament record seven three-pointers. Ricketts begins her sixth year as the starter for Fairdale High in Louisville, Ky., and has her team off to a 7-1 start this season. The multi-purpose guard recently picked up her 715th career steal which puts her second all-time in Kentucky girls basketball history.
Carlisle, Ark., 5-8 guard Julie Inman, La Jolla, Calif., 6-2 post Jamesha Townsend and Coldwater, Miss., 6-3 post Ashley Daniels round out the signees. Each is ranked nationally by All-Star Girls Report.
Inman led Carlisle to a 34-2 record last year and was MVP of Class AA. She recently scored 18 to lead CHS in an overtime clash of state champions against Class AAAA Central Arkansas Christian. Townsend is one of the top post players in the San Diego area, but currently sitting out after transferring high schools within the region. Daniels has her Coldwater Lady Cougars off to a 12-game winning streak and scored 24 points in a recent cross county battle against rival Independence.
“Although this class has no ‘superstar’ player, it has five very, very good players that can play with anyone in the country,” Collen said. “I think our fans will be pleased as they watch this class develop.”
In the SEC, Tennessee had the No. 2 class in the country with LSU at number four overall. Behind Arkansas at 23rd were Kentucky (29), Auburn (30), South Carolina (34) and Miss State (35) in the top 40. Three more SEC teams were in the top 50: Alabama (43), Vanderbilt (45) and Florida (49).
The undefeated Lady Razorbacks are off for the holidays until Dec. 26. Arkansas, 12-0, returns to Fayetteville the day after Christmas to prepare for its final road trip of the year, a two-game tournament stand at the Dartmouth College-hosted Blue Sky Tournament. The Lady’Backs face University of Delaware in the opening round at 4 p.m. central time on Dec. 29. Arkansas plays either the host Dartmouth or Marquette in the second round on Dec. 30.
Arkansas’ final pre-SEC game is Saturday, Jan. 5, at Bud Walton Arena against former Southwest Conference rival Texas Tech at 2 p.m.