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Basketball season is here. Youth leagues are gearing up throughout Arkansas and high school teams are taking the courts, too. This is a great time of year for basketball fans, and the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team is a wonderful way to get your basketball fix and see top talent from in and out of the state.
The women head into their second season under head coach Jimmy Dykes. Dykes is a Razorback as well, playing for the men’s basketball team and lettering three years before graduating in 1985. Now Dykes directs his passion for the Razorbacks and Arkansas to the women’s team. Last year, Dykes guided the team to 18 wins and made the second round of the NCAA tournament.
This year the women are picked to finish 8th in the SEC, but they’re looking to build upon the success of last season. “We accomplished a great deal in our first year,” Dykes says. “Now we as a staff look at our second year as first year all over again.” With only four returning players and eight new Razorbacks, the women’s team will look different this year, but Dykes is confident in the toughness of his players. “I love how competitive they are. I think you’ll see a much faster, more aggressive half-court defense.”
On the offensive side, junior Jacksonville, Arkansas native Jessica Jackson promises to be one of the team’s top scorers. She earned an All-SEC Second Team selection for the second time in her career last year and is a pre-season pick for the All-SEC team again this season. Jackson has scored 10 points or more in an astonishing 50 games after only two seasons as a Razorback. She already posted 20 points in the Razorbacks’ only exhibition game against Missouri Southern. Jessica Jackson is a dynamic player and will be a player to watch this year.
Joining Jackson as a threat near the net is junior Kelsey Brooks. Brooks started every game last year as a sophomore and played in every game as a freshman. The guard racked up 15 points in the exhibition game. With Brooks and Jackson working in tandem, Razorback fans can anticipate more points on the board this season. Melissa Wolff, of Cabot, Arkansas, is the only senior and will anchor the team with her experience and leadership. She “continues to be the heart and pulse of our team,” Dykes says.
A pair of 6′ 3″ junior transfers, Alecia Cooley and Tatiyana Smith, will add size in the center for the Razorbacks. Look for dual threats Jordan Danberry and Malica Monk in the point guard position. Both freshmen hail from Arkansas and both have the ability to handle the ball, play at a relentless pace and knock down 15 foot pull up jumpers.
This year the women’s collegiate game will look a little different. The women will play four 10 minute quarters instead of two 20 minute halves, a change the NCAA voted on in June as a way to bring more excitement and energy to the game. As a result of the quarter based format, once a team commits five fouls in a quarter, their opponent will receive a two shot bonus. Fouls will reset at the beginning of each quarter. For a full update on the changes, check out this article on ncaa.com.
The Razorbacks play in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas with a schedule that offers opportunities for week night thrills and Sunday afternoon family excursions. Tickets sell for $5 for adults and $3 for youth 17 and under. However, on Sunday Fun Day games, children 12 and under accompanied by an adult receive free admission. Groups of 10 or more can take advantage of group ticket prices at $2 per ticket. Families can purchase a Pepsi Family Four Pack, which includes four tickets, four hot dogs and four 22 oz. drinks for $34. Season tickets to all 16 home games are still available for $45 and come with a Razorback basketball t-shirt. Kids can also celebrate birthday parties at a game. Visit arkansasrazorbacks.com for more information on all tickets and promotions.
“We have a phenomenal fan base at Arkansas. If you come watch us play once, I know you’ll come back and watch us play again,” Coach Dykes says. The days are turning colder in Arkansas, but all the action on the court is just heating up.
Friday, Nov. 13 — Southeastern Louisiana — 10:30 AM
Sunday, Nov. 15 — Sam Houston State — 2:00 PM
Monday, Nov. 23 — Tulsa — 7:00 PM
Wednesday, Dec. 2 — Missouri State — 7:00 PM
Thursday, Dec. 10 — Oral Roberts — 8:00 PM
Monday, Dec. 28 — Mississippi Valley State — 7:00 PM
Wednesday, Dec. 30 — New Orleans — 7:00 PM
Thursday, Jan. 7 — Texas A&M — 7:00 PM
Thursday, Jan. 14 — Tennessee — 7:00 PM
Sunday, Jan. 17 — Missouri — 2:00 PM
Thursday, Jan. 28 — Florida — 7:00 PM
Sunday, Jan. 31 — Mississippi State — 2:00 PM
Monday, Feb. 8 — Vanderbilt — 6:00 PM
Thursday, Feb. 18 — Alabama — 7:00 PM
Sunday, Feb. 28 — Ole Miss — 3:00 PM
Click here to download the full Women Razorback Basketball schedule.
Arkansas Razorback women’s basketball photos courtesy of Razorbacks Communications and used with permission.
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