FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team returns home to Bud Walton Arena on Thursday to face No. 13/12 Georgia. Tipoff against the Lady Bulldogs is scheduled for 7 p.m. The matchup is the only game this week for the Razorbacks before a bye on Sunday.
Senior Quistelle Williams has been a force in the front court during conference play. Through four SEC games she leads the Razorbacks with 11.8 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game. She has been the leading rebounder in the past two games, and posted a career high 12 rebounds en route to her third double-double of the season last Thursday versus LSU.
The Razorbacks are led in the back court by sophomore Calli Berna, who is third in the SEC with 5.9 assists per game. Berna has been steady in conference play, averaging 38.5 minutes a game, and recording a 2.44 assist to turnover ratio.
“I’m really excited,” Berna said. “I think a win against Georgia can get our name out there again and let people know that were here to win. They’re very athletic, they’re long, and they’re point guard is one of the best in the league. They know how to score, so that’s something we have to stop. We have to take care of the ball and not turn it over, which I take pride in as a point guard. We have to come out ready to play, and we’re excited to get out on the court.”
Arkansas is buoyed by a strong defense, ranking second in the SEC in field goal percentage against, holding opponents to 35.7% from the floor. Arkansas is third in the conference in three point defense, holding their foes to just 67-255 (26.3%) from behind the arc.Georgia enters the matchup at 15-2, and both of their losses came on the road. The Lady Bulldogs feature the reigning SEC Player of the Week in senior forward Jasmine Hassell who averaged 20 points last week in wins over Alabama and No. 18 South Carolina. She enters the game averaging 12.3 points per game, while Jasmine James averages 12.4 points per game. Georgia has held the advantage in the all-time series, as Arkansas is looking to erase a lifetime 4-26 record against Georgia.
“Georgia is obviously a very talented team,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “We’d really like to get a win going into a bye Sunday. Every win you can get in the SEC is a big win. They’re going to be a great basketball team for us to play.”
Georgia enters the game ranked No. 13 in the AP poll, and is the fourth ranked opponent for Arkansas this season. Keira Peak scored a career high 30 points against then No. 13 Oklahoma, and averages 17 points and 6.67 rebounds against ranked teams this year. In a home win over then No. 17 Kansas, Quistelle Williams led the Razorbacks with 15 points and posted nine rebounds. “We need to shoot the ball better than we did against Vanderbilt, play a little better defense,” Collen said. “We have to improve to have a chance to beat Georgia. Hopefully our home crowd can give us some energy and work to our advantage.”