FAYETTEVILLE – Tom Collen leads his University of Arkansas women’s basketball team into Southeastern Conference action for the final time this year as the Razorbacks host Alabama Sunday for Senior Day.
Arkansas (18-9, 6-9 SEC) welcomes Alabama (15-13, 4-11 SEC) at 2 p.m. The Razorbacks also honor seniors Caroline Powell, Skye Rees, Brittney Richardson, Ashlea Williams and manager Mike Jennings in their final league game in Bud Walton Arena.
"I’m sure it will be emotional," Collen said. "These individuals have all been a big part of our success and it’s nice to be able to recognize them."
Sunday’s game is more than just emotional for Arkansas as a Razorback win coupled with a Florida loss (against Georgia) would move Arkansas up in the final SEC standings and in the tournament seeding.
Arkansas has won two of its last three and had a narrow miss by one point at No. 20 Kentucky Thursday. Junior C’eira Ricketts leads the team with 13.4 points per game this year. Ricketts became the second Razorback to surpass the 1,000-point career milestone joining Lyndsay Harris as the 24th and 25th players, respectively.
"It means a lot to score 1,000 points in college," Ricketts said. "I did it in high school but it’s different in college. You really have to work hard to score against great defenders."
Alabama enters the game winners in four of their last six games. Senior Tierney Jenkins leads the team with 16.1 ppg and 10.9 rpg followed by junior Ericka Russell with 10.5 ppg.
"I’m really impressed with this team," Collen said. "I know how disappointed they were after the Kentucky loss and to come back here and practice hard and prepare for the next game takes a lot. They believe they can still get into the NCAA Tournament. They know what we have to do to get it done. To have a team who continues to believe in themselves and the coaches is critical in building a program."
"We are going to come out and play hard with our heads up," Ricketts said. "We can’t let anyone else determine our future. Our first game with them was kinda ugly and we feel like we have a pretty good idea of what we need to do against them."
Arkansas and Alabama met earlier this year with the Razorbacks escaping Tuscaloosa with a 57-53 win. Ricketts dropped in 18 in that game with 16 from junior Sarah Watkins and 11 from freshman Keira Peak.
Sunday’s SEC games are the last of the regular season with the SEC Tournament following March 3-6 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.