FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team opens the 2010 Southeastern Conference Tournament facing nationally-ranked Vanderbilt in the first round Thursday.
Arkansas (12-17) faces the Commodores (20-9) at 5:30 p.m. central and the game is televised by FSN. Check local listings for more information.
“We’ve been up-and-down all year,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “We got off to a poor start in SEC play but got on a couple rolls at different times this year. We feel good about our ability to play on the road and we know that anything is possible in the tournament.”
Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb echoed Collen’s statements.
“We’ve been inconsistent like most of the teams in the SEC this year,” Balcomb said. “I like what we’ve done and how hard the kids are working right now but we’ve put ourselves in a tough spot having to play a first round game.
“Arkansas has played well at times this year,” Balcomb continued. “We had a really tough game there (in Fayetteville) and we know that anything is possible.”
Arkansas enters tournament play on a three-game losing skid following a successful three-game winning streak. The Razorbacks are led by sophomore Lyndsay Harris averaging 12.8 ppg this year. Senior Charity Ford chips in with 12.3 ppg in her final season.
Vanderbilt suffered what many consider an upset loss to South Carolina in their final game of the regular season, 70-73. The Commodores are paced by Merideth Marshall with 14.8 ppg and Jence Rhoads with 13.7 ppg this season.
“Vanderbilt is a veteran team,” Collen said. “They’ve been through the war before and won the SEC Tournament last year. They are coming into the tournament with the mindset to win it.
“For us,” Collen continued, “it’s the beginning of a new season. It’s a fresh start and a fresh opportunity.”