FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team officially begins its 2013-14 season hosting Sam Houston State inside Bud Walton Arena on Friday,with tipset for 11 a.m. as part of Elementary Day.
The Razorbacks have built a 36-1 all-time record in home openers, with defending Southland Conference regular season champion, Sam Houston State, visiting Fayetteville to begin this season’s campaign.
"It’s always good to play at home," head coach Tom Collen said. "I think it’s probably always a team coming in here and playing the first game against a BCS team, they probably have a tendency to be a little nervous. That probably helps tilt it a little bit."
The fifth all-time meeting of the two programs, the Razorbacks hold a 4-0 all-time record against the Bearkats.
"We played Sam Houston a couple years ago and they really gave us a battle," Collen said."They did some things defensively that we really weren’t ready for yet. Hopefully we won’t get caught off guard this time and we’ll be ready to go."
The last time the two team’s met during the 2009-10 season, the Razorbacks lit up the scoreboard on their way to scoring more than 100 points at homeand winning by a 106-78 final score.
"I’d like to think that they can score 100, but I don’t know whether or not that’s the goal in the game," Collen said of his team repeating the feat. "We just really want to play well and we want to win. To score 100 points, a lot of things have to go right. I think this team is a little better than that team, so we’ll see what happens."
A scorer in her own right, Jasmine Johnson returns as the top scorer for the Bearkats this season. The 5-7 senior guard started in 32 games last season, logging the second-highest average of minutes per game (32.4) for Sam Houston State. Johnson also keeps her teammates involved, dishing out 110 assists last season.
The Bearkats will face the challenge this season of finding new team leadership, after seeing their top three scorers graduate in Britni Martin (15.9 ppg), Sequeena Thomas (14.2 ppg) and Chanice Smith (9.4 ppg).
With a young and talentedroster of their ownthis season, Collen said he’ll continue to shuffle and tweak starting lineup and minutes until an efficient and effective balance is struck.
"I preach to them all the time that the five people who start aren’t necessarily the five people that will end the game with the most minutes or the five on the floor to end the game," said Collen. "You do what you can to keep everybody engaged in the level that they need to be engaged at."
Three Razorbacks reached double-digit scoring in an exhibition matchup against Missouri Southern. Freshman Jessica Jackson paced Arkansas offensively with 14 points, senior Keira Peak scored 13 points, while freshmen McKenzie Adams poured in 12 points and Kelsey Brooks added 11 points.
Arkansas hosts Sam Houston State on Friday as part of Elementary Day. Now in its fourth year, the event has Bud Walton Arena play host to a number of elementary school children from area schools. Opening tip is scheduled for 11 a.m.
Season tickets are still available for the 2013-14 season. New this year, fans can choose their seat each game when they purchase a General Admission Season Ticket for $45. Reserved Season Tickets are $90 and Family Plans are available for $100. Included in the Family Plan is two adult and two youth general admission season tickets. Additional youth season tickets can be purchased for $20 each.
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