SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team tests its perfect 8-0 record on the road at Utah Saturday.The game is scheduled for a4 p.m. central tip with the host Utes (3-4).
"We’re excited to be here," Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. "We ended up cancelling our practice after our game at UTA.
I just sensed that maybe we were a little fatigued; I played the starters a lot of minutes. We’re back it now and have one prep day. It’s going to be mind over matter and we’re glad to be back at it."
Arkansas has been solid to open the year. The Razorbacks have out-scored opponents by an average of 12 points-per-game and they have had as many as five players averaging double-digits this year.
The Razorbacks enter the Utah contest paced by junior Lyndsay Harris averaging 12.9 ppg followed closely by junior C’eira Ricketts with 11.8 ppg.
But is hasn’t been all guard play that has helped Arkansas to its 8-0 start. In recent games, the post play of junior Ashley Daniels and sophomore Sarah Watkins has been key in the Razorbacks’ success.
Daniels just slipped out of double-figures averaging 9.5 ppg while Watkins checks in with 11.4 ppg.
In addition, Arkansas has gotten better-than-expected play out of freshman Keira Peak. Peak averages 10.6 ppg and is one of the hardest-working players on the team.
That balance has been essential for the Razorbacks’ early success this year.
But Saturday’s game is against a different type of opponent. Utah has had some tough games, playing second-ranked Stanford close, losing by nine on a neutral floor.
The Utes will try to slow down the pace of play and they prefer to hold opponents to a low-scoring game, something that does not necessarily favor Arkansas.
The Razorbacks are shooting around 41 percent for the year and one of the keys to the wins has been Arkansas’ ability to get more shoots in the game than its opponents – something Utah will try to limit.
"I think they are going to play us man-to-man defense which is probably good for us," Collen said. "Most people have played us zone. We want to create a tempo that goes up and down.
The Razorbacks are on the tail end of the longest road stretch of the year, wrapping up the four-contest swing. Arkansas breaks from the game schedule next week for finals but returns to the court Dec. 16, hosting Oral Roberts in the first of two games before the holidays.