ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team (6-0) faces its first road test of the season against Southeast Missouri (2-4) on Friday in the opening game of the New Mexico Tournament at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M.
Off to a 6-0 start for the third time in seven seasons under the direction of head coach Tom Collen, the Razorbacks prepare for what will be the first all-time game against the Redhawks. SEMO officially became NCAA Division I members during the 1991-92 season.
The Redhawks finished 11-18 overall last season and tied for ninth place in the Ohio Valley Conference standings with a 5-11 league mark. The campaign marked the most wins for the program since the 2008-09 season, which also recorded its highest conference finish since the same campaign.
SEMO returns seven letterwinners, five of whom started at one point last year. Despite graduating three players that started 15 or more games, four of those five players started at least 10 games.
Kara Wright averaged 8.5 points per game and led the Redhawks in field goal percentage (.455) as just a freshman. The 5-11 sophomore guard elevated her game in conference play, finishing second on the team with 10.6 points per game and earned a spot on the OVC All-Newcomer Team.
Another player to watch for SEMO is Olivia Hackmann. The sophomore is averaging 11.5 points per game through six games for the Redhawks and has shot an impressive 55.6 percent from three-point range.
Offensively, Jessica Jackson continues to have an immediate impact for UA and has averaged 14.8 points per contest, which ranks ninth in the SEC. The freshman is the only underclassman ranked among the top 10 conference scorers, outperformed by five seniors and three juniors.
There to orchestrate the UA offense has been&Calli Berna, who leads&the SEC with 43 assists and is second in the conference averaging 7.2 helpers per game. The junior also ranks fourth in the league with her 3.9 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Razorbacks take their show on the road for the first time this season and visit The Pit, which will serve its 47th season as the home of tournament host New Mexico. One of the unique venues in college athletics, the sunken edifice is built in a 37-foot hole on Albuquerque’s southeast mesa. First the roof was constructed, then the hole was dug and Arena built in 1966.
Arkansas and Southeast Missouri are scheduled to tip off 6 p.m. Friday inside The Pit. The game will air in Northwest Arkansas on KOSM-FM 92.1; in Rogers on KURM-AM 790; in Fort Smith on KFPW-FM and AM 94.5 FM and 1230 AM; and in Little Rock on KREB-FM 103.7.
For more information on Arkansas women’s basketball, follow @RazorbackWBB on Twitter.