FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Tom Collen puts his University of Arkansas women’s basketball team to the test Wednesday with a road game at Southern Methodist at 7 p.m.
The Razorbacks are 1-0 on the young season opening the year with a win over Alcorn State but they face a more experienced team in SMU who is also 1-0 this season.
“We were excited to get that first win,” Collen said. “It was a good experience for us and I hope that will help us in preparation of our first true road game.
“SMU is a better opponent and it will be a challenge to face them on their own floor,” Collen continued. “They return all five starters from a year ago.”
The season facing the Razorbacks is a tough one with most of Arkansas’ opponents returning more than half of their starters.
The Razorbacks return several starters as well but will rely heavily on the newcomers. Collen got a taste of that in the opener.
Freshman Sarah Watkins battled nerves in the first half but scored 20 points in the second helping Arkansas to the win. Sophomore Ashley Daniels led all scorers with 21 points and was a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line.
The Razorbacks battled some first-game demons as well with 31 turnovers and only three bench points in the first half.
“The biggest challenge for this group is growing and maturing as a team,” Collen said. “I’m very confident we have good talent here. We just have to continue to grow together.”
Arkansas showed a few secrets in the first game that Collen hoped to hang on to a bit longer. The Razorbacks pressed in the second half and ran an offense that was unscheduled.
“The press was effective for us in the second half,” he said. “We showed our hand a little bit with our offense in the second half as well. It is our most athletic lineup and probably our best offense at this point. We are not going to change what we’re doing. We have to go inside and challenge teams to be successful”
The Razorbacks return to Bud Walton Arena for the season’s home opener hosting East Tennessee State Sunday at 3 p.m. Arkansas then departs for the Caribbean Challenge in Cancun, Mexico, facing Iona in the tournament opener Nov. 26.
Arkansas has three games at home in December hosting Kansas State Dec. 2, Coppin State Dec. 8 and Sam Houston State Dec. 29.
For a complete schedule of games and ticket information, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.