FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — University of Arkansas women’s basketball head coach Tom Collen met with members of the media on Wednesday to preview the team’s upcoming home and season opener against Sam Houston State on Friday at Bud Walton Arena.
"We’re excited about the start of the season," Collen said. "Our kids, if you think about it, have been practicing going back to July. Although they got to play three exhibition matches in Italy, they know that these are the games that matter. They want to get going, see this start and find out what we’re about."
The Razorbacks had one tune-up in an exhibition game last Sunday against Missouri Southern, as they earned a 70-61 win. The team’s scoring ability and shot selection were what stood out most to Collen looking back on the performance.
"I think some of the positives we take out of it were that we executed offensively," Collen said. "We got to an awful lot of good shots. I think we got the jitters out, maybe, with some of the freshman. Three of them stepped forward and scored double figures. I think that said a lot for them."
Collen previewed the team’s first official opponent of the season in the Bearkats of Sam Houston State.
"They’re defending Southland Conference regular season champions," Collen said. "One thing that you recognize when you watch them is that they play with a lot of intensity, a lot of passion and they play really good defense," Collen said. "It’ll be a good, hard-nosed first game for us."
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.
"Elementary Day is always a great day for us," Collen said. "You get a bunch of loud, young, screaming kids into the gym. We know that they’re pulling for the Razorbacks. They create such a great atmosphere. There’s a buzz in the arena, even when play is not going on. When you get 3,000 gradeschool kids just talking amongst themselves, there’s just a hum."
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