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Late night in Nashville for women’s hoops

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Late night in Nashville for women’s hoops

ONCE, TWICE, THREE TIMES FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: Ceira Ricketts was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for the second consecutive week. The freshman from Louisville, Ky., averaged 18.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg for the past week, including a near double versus then No. 10 Tennessee with 22 points and nine rebounds, then 13 points as Arkansas’ top-scoring starter at Miss State for the Razorbacks first conference win of the year. The freshman also led all players in the game with six assists and three steals vs. UT. At Miss State, Ricketts had 13 points and four steals as the top scoring starter for the Razorbacks. Ricketts led the team in assists in Arkansas first win against a SEC opponent. The win at State broke a five-game losing streak dating back to the Jan. 3. For the week, Ricketts exceeded her season averages and SEC-game only averages with 18.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 4.5 and 3.5 spg. She becomes the first Razorback to win three SEC weekly honors in the same season.OH, THERE IS AN ICE STORM: As we go to web with the notes, a serious winter storm is bearing down on Fayetteville. National Weather Service expects 1/4 to 1/2 of ice, which may disrupt Arkansas’ home practice schedule before the Vandy game. It has the potential of changing Arkansas’ travel plans.HONEY, I SHRUNK THE ‘DORES: For the first time, Arkansas brings a roster of approximately the same size to the Vanderbilt game. The tallest Commdore is 6-3 Amy Mallo and 6-3 Rebecca Silinski. In the starting lineup, the two teams are comparable in height.ESOTERIC RECORD, BUT NOTABLE: Ceira Ricketts’ 22 points is the most scored by a freshman at Arkansas against Tennessee. Kimberly Wilson had 21 her freshman year. BTW — the all-time high was 26.RICKETTS TIES CAREER HIGH: Ricketts’ 22 points equals her career best, set with 22 against Big 12 member Missouri in December.AND ONE MORE — RICKETTS’ NO. 2 IN THE COUNTRY FOR FRESHMAN: An informal survey of freshman conducted by Oral Roberts University puts Ceira Rickets at No. 2 in the nation for freshmen with 272 points. Casey Garrison of Missouri State has 291 points through games of Jan. 26. Kayla Drake of Eastern Kentucky is third with Michelle Kurowski of Maryland-Baltimore County fourth. SEC notables include Tennessee’s Shekinna Stricklen at ninth, UT’s Glory Johnson at 16th and LSU LaSondra Barrett at 20th.HEY, WE DO HAVE OTHER PLAYERS: Indeed, the Miss State game produced a slew of notable numbers for Razorback players.CAREER HIGH FOR McCRAY: Back-to-back doubles for junior post player Ashley McCray. “Lele” as her coaches call her scored 14 points on 6-of-9 from the field with six rebounds and a perfect day at the line. McCray led all scorers for Arkansas at MSU. She had 12 earlier in the week with Tennessee. For the week, McCray averaged 13 ppg — well over her 2.4 ppg heading into the week — and shot over 70% from the field and 80% at the line.DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR BRERETON: Ayana Brereton pulled down a career high 12 rebounds with 10 points for her first double of the year at Miss State.NEAR DOUBLE FOR JONES: Arkansas’ inside game got a jump start in Starkville as senior Whitney Jones rounded out the inside efforts with nine points and 10 rebounds.SO MUCH FOR BULLDOG SIZE: Even though MSU has improved height, Arkansas outrebounded the Lady Bulldogs, 42-40, and outscored MSU in the paint, 36-22.WELCOME BACK, LYNDSAY HARRIS: After going 3-of-27 in her first four SEC games from behind the arc, freshman Lyndsay Harris found her three-point groove at Starkville. Harris hit 2-of-4 as a part of her 10 points.DON’T LET THE REBOUNDS FOOL YOU: Vanderbilt historically is one of the top rebounding teams in the SEC. So what’s up with the Commodores ranking 11th in the league, only one slot up from Arkansas at 12th with the only negative rebound margin in the SEC? There aren’t as many rebounds when you don’t miss, and Vandy is third in the SEC in field goal and fifth in three-point percentages.TREYS AWAY: Think Alexis Rack of Miss State — the SEC’s top three-baller — was fun to defend? Try Vandy with the leagues’ best three-point shooting tandem — Christina Wirth, 4th, with 1.9 per game; and Merideth Marsh, 5th, 1.8 per game. Arkansas has three ranked again in the league’s top 15, but they start with Lyndsay Harris at 10th, then Shanita Arnold in 13th and Ayana Brereton tied for 14th.TV TIME: The Razorbacks make the second of three straight road appearances on Fox Sports South. Arkansas was on Fox with Miss State, then the second half of the Thursday night double-header in the next game on Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. central. The string closes at LSU on Feb. 6, also the night-cap at 8 p.m.A WEEK TO REMEMBER: Ashley McCray came into the third week of January with 40 points on her stat sheet, only three points in SEC games and averages of 2 ppg and 2.2 rpg. The junior college transfer turned it up against Tennessee with 12 points, but floored it at Miss State. McCray scored a season/career high 14 points to lead Arkansas to its first win over a SEC team. For the week, McCray shot 73% from the field and 80% at the line. She averaged 13 ppg and 6.5 rpg for the week.TOP FROSH: It seems that 2009 is the year of the freshman in the SEC with huge recruiting classes playing significant roles at several schools. Of all the freshman, Arkansas’ Ceira Ricketts has established herself as the statistical leader of a talented class. POINTS: 13.6 ppg (#1 Freshman, 7th overall) REBOUNDS: 6.4 rpg (#2 Freshman, 14th) FG %: .469 (#1 Freshman-4th) ASSISTS: 3.4 apg (#1 Freshman-9th) STEALS: 2.9 spg (#1 Freshman-1st) ASST-TO RATIO: 1.5 (#1 Freshman-5th) DEF. BOARDS: 4.6 (#1 Freshman-8th)DID WE MENTION: At 12th in the SEC for rebounding, it should be noted that everyone ahead of Ceira Ricketts is taller than the 5-9 guard, and nine of the 11 are 6-0 or above.AND IT’S NOT LIKE SHE’S PLAYING ALL GAME: To add a little perspective to Ceira Ricketts’ conference rankings, she is not in the SEC’s top 10 players for minutes (which is actually top 12 thanks to a three-way tie for 10th).RICKETTS MAKES HISTORY: Freshman Ceira Ricketts became the first women’s basketball player in Arkansas history to record a triple double in a regular season game. We’ll make the caveat of known triple as the early year box scores are sketchy or nonexistent. Nevertheless, since modern NCAA era, only a handful of Razorbacks have come close. Most notable — Sally Moore was within an assist in 1990 against Oklahoma (18p/13r/9a) and Brittney Vaughn was within a rebound in 2006 against St. Louis (13p/9r/10a). Research continues to confirm, but the search of the likely suspects and old records Sunday evening turned up no evidence to not give the mark to the freshman.RICKETTS TIES ASSIST RECORDS: Ceira Ricketts’ 12 assists tied the Arkansas freshman class record for most assists in a game. Amy Wright held the mark with 12 against LSU in 1999. Ricketts also shares the UA mark for most assists in a regular season SEC game with Wright and Rochelle Vaughn, who had her 12 against Georgia in 2004. For the game, Ricketts had as many assists as #6 Auburn had as a team.AND, RICKETTS GETS FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: In recognition of the above notations, freshman Ceira Ricketts was selected the SEC Freshman of the Week. It is her second FOTW honor (Nov. 26), and makes her the first repeat freshman honoree in Razorback history. Additionally, she’s only the third Arkansas player to pick up two “of the week” awards from the SEC for women’s basketball. Two seasons ago, Lauren Ervin had a pair of player of the weeks and Shameka Christon had one player of the week and a co-player back in 2004.RICKETTS BACK TO NO. 1: Freshman Ceira Ricketts leads the league with 2.8 steals per game. During non-conference play, Ricketts was the leader or No. 2 most of the early weeks. Her 48 total steals is also the most in the league. Nationally, Ricketts is 28th, up two spots from 30th last week.BEWARE THE DEAD ZONE: For the Arkansas Razorbacks, the second media time out (the under 12:00 break) marks the start of an offensive black hole for the five game losing streak. Roughly around the 12 to 9 minute mark, Arkansas has suffered game-deciding runs. The hallmark of the runs are a lack of Arkansas offense, not an outpouring of opponent production. Throughout, the Arkansas defense is holding teams to “walks” rather than runs. Consider the two most recent losses. Tennessee held Arkansas scoreless for almost seven minutes starting at 8:33, but could only manage 11 points. Auburn limited Arkansas for almost five minutes starting at 11:50, but could only advance the margin eight points (11-3). Still, the second half stall has cost Arkansas five straight — Tennessee (11-0), Auburn (11-3), Kentucky (10-2), LSU (8-0, after an earlier 12-0 to start the half) and Texas Tech (15-1). To Arkansas credit, in every game, the Razorbacks made comebacks to narrow the gap, and played even basketball the final four minutes of each game. However, the damage was done by the final media time out near the 4:00 mark.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)