FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team opens the 2010-11 season Friday hosting Florida A&M in an 11:30 a.m. contest in Bud Walton Arena.
The opener is the first of five consecutive home games for head coach Tom Collen and the Razorbacks.
"Well, we’re excited to play," Collen said. "We had an exhibition game last week and saw some things we wanted to work on in practice. We’ve done that and now it’s time to test that and see how far we’ve come. We are anticipating a great crowd and they are going to see a team that is really hungry and just wants to play."
The unusual start time of 11:30 a.m. accommodates a promotional event in which area elementary students have been invited to the game as a field trip. The event is paired with educational activities relating to health, nutrition and physical fitness.
"This is a really great event," Collen said. "I’m excited to have more than 2,500 screaming fans in the building, many of whom have not seen a basketball game on this level before."
All of the fans at the game are sure to get a good contest as the Rattlers are coming off an 18-win season and return 11 letterwinners and three starters from a year ago. FAMU held opponents to 34 percent shooting from the floor last year and led their conference in defense.
"They are not big," Collen said, "but they are very athletic. We have to cut down on turnovers and work hard to feed the ball inside against them. We want to get out of the chute fast in the game and for the season."
Arkansas has an experienced junior corps including Lyndsay Harris, C’eira Ricketts and Ashley Daniels that Collen expects to lead the Razorbacks this year. Harris is the leading scorer from a year ago while Daniels led the team in rebounds. Ricketts is the primary ball handler and will again be expected to control tempo and create shots for herself and her teammates.
The Razorbacks will be busy this week. The return to the court Sunday hosting Davidson at 1 p.m. followed by a Wednesday contest with Mississippi Valley as the five-game home stand continues.