FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team tips off the 2010-11 season with the first official practice of the year Tuesday in Bud Walton Arena.
Thanks to a rule change allowing the women’s teams to start earlier this year, head coach Tom Collen gets things going with the first of 30 scheduled practices.
"We are really excited to begin practice," Collen said. "Our players are eager to move from conditioning and strength training to playing more basketball. The early start time allows us more practice opportunities at a slower pace and we can give our players a few more days off."
The Razorabacks are more experienced this season with a strong corps of upperclassmen to lead the team. The senior class includes Brittney Richardson, Caroline Powell and Skye Rees and although talented, it’s the junior returners who have the most court time.
Led by starters Ashley Daniels, Lyndsay Harris and C’eira Ricketts, the six-member junior class will be tough for Collen in 2010-11. Junior Jamesha Townsend returns for her third season under Collen and the Razorbacks welcome back Julie Inman. Inman missed much of the second semester last season.
"We are deeper and more experienced than a year ago," Collen said. "We have a good group of leaders and players who want to be impactful on and off the court. I’m really looking forward to all of us coming together and beginning work as one unit."
The sophomore class includes Sarah Watkins and Quistelle Williams, both of whom saw significant minutes last season.
The Razorbacks have also added a great deal of new talent to the lineup. Five newcomers, including a pair of transfers, will improve Arkansas’ depth, especially at the point position.
"The season opener is just around the corner and I think our players and staff are excited to find out just how good we can be," Collen said.
The season gets underway with an exhibition game Nov. 3, when the Razorbacks host Missouri Southern in Bud Walton Arena at 7 p.m.