FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team begins the final week of the regular season traveling to No. 20 LSU Thursday for an 8:05 p.m. tip.
Arkansas (12-15, 4-10 SEC) is playing in the second of three consecutive television games with Thursday’s event at LSU (18-8, 7-7) scheduled to air on FSN.
The Razorbacks conclude the regular season Sunday at No. 24 Georgia in a game that is televised by the SEC Network.
Arkansas’ first task is a defensively sound Tiger team on its home court. The Razorbacks suffered a loss in the first meeting between these teams earlier in the year despite keeping it close for the first half.
“Our goal at the end of the season has been to upset some of those teams who beat us earlier in the year,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “LSU is a good opportunity for us to play well and see what happens. They’ll be ready for us but it’s another chance to show that we are growing and getting better.”
Arkansas enters the game with a trio of familiar facing leading the charge. Sophomore Lyndsay Harris has been the Razorbacks’ top point-scorer for much of the season and she comes into the game averaging 13.0 ppg. Senior Charity Ford is right on her heels with a 12.4 ppg average. Sophomore C’eira Ricketts rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10.1 ppg this season.
The Tigers, meanwhile, are paced by senior Allison Hightower. Hightower is good for 18.2 ppg this season and had 13 points in the earlier win over the Razorbacks.
“One of our biggest challenges is that we have to find a way to score on LSU,” Collen said. “They are one of the best defensive teams in the country so we have to make the most of every opportunity. A lot of their offense centers around Hightower. She is a senior with Final Four experience.
“But we’re a better team now than we were in the first meeting,” Collen continued. “We’re looking forward to going in there in front of a great crowd and seeing how far we’ve come.”
The SEC race continues to tighten up as the season wraps up. Tennessee leads the league with a 13-1 record followed by Kentucky with an 11-3 mark. Mississippi State and Vanderbilt enter the week at 8-6 and there is a three-way tie for fifth with Florida, Georgia and LSU all 7-7 in conference games. South Carolina and Ole Miss are tied at 6-8, followed by Arkansas and Auburn with 4-10 records. Alabama rounds out the SEC with a 3-11 conference record.
The Razorbacks follow the Georgia game with a trip to Duluth, Ga., for the 2010 Southeastern Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament. Seeds and game times are still to be determined.