UA women get early wake-up call

By: Paul Boyd
Published: Friday, November 10, 2017
Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors watches during a game against Northeastern State on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Charlie Kaijo
Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors watches during a game against Northeastern State on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Mike Neighbors' first official game at Arkansas will serve as the first game of this women's college basketball season thanks to a 10:30 a.m. start as part of the elementary school day promotion.

More than 3,000 elementary school students are expected to watch the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville host Sam Houston State in Walton Arena today.

Sam Houston State at Arkansas women

WHEN 10:30 a.m.

WHERE Walton Arena, Fayetteville

RECORDS Season opener for both teams

SERIES Arkansas leads 7-0

RADIO Razorback Sports Network

TELEVISION SEC Network

PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS

ARKANSAS

POS. NAME, HT., YR.;PPG;RPG

G Devin Cosper, 5-10, Sr.;6.4;2.2

G Malica Monk, 5-5, Jr.;9.1;3.0

G Jailyn Mason, 5-9, So.;7.5;3.9

F Bailey Zimmerman, 6-0, Jr.;4.5;3.8

F Kiara Williams, 6-1, S0.;3.1;2.8

COACH Mike Neighbors (0-0 in first season at Arkansas, 98-41 in 5th season overall)

Sam Houston State

POS. NAME, HT, YR.;PPG;RPG

G Jennifer Oramas, 5-5, So.;9.1;2.3

G Kevyn Ferriera, 5-8, S0.;0.0;0.0

G Akarian Morgan, 5-6, Fr.;0.0;0.0

F Kiera McKinnney, 6-2, So.;4.9;4.5

C Ashleigh Cooper, 6-0, Jr.;3.5;3.5

COACH Brenda Nichols (115-212 in 12th season at Sam Houston State, 149-237 in 15th season overall)

TEAM COMPARISON

Sam Houston State;;Arkansas

52.9;Points for;64.1

72.5;Points against;60.4

-2.9;Rebound margin;+2.1

-2.1;Turnover margin;+0.5

33.9;FG pct.;39.6

29.6;3-pt pct.;33.1

65.5;FT pct.;66.5

CHALK TALK Around 3,200 elementary school children are expected for this morning’s game. … An Arkansas victory would run its record to 34-8 in season openers and 22-0 in home openers.

— Paul Boyd

Neighbors, a Greenwood native, said last week's exhibition game against Northeastern (Okla.) State got rid of a few nerves.

"They were certainly there," Neighbors said. "I'd like to sit up here and tell you I didn't have butterflies. I really didn't. They were moths. I'm too old to have butterflies.

"Glad to get that stuff out of the way so that we can focus and make sure the team is the emphasis and not a homecoming."

The Razorbacks gave the coaching staff good information in their 82-74 win over Northeastern State, Neighbors said. He liked the pace at which the team played and how his players took care of the basketball.

"We wanted to see what habits were carrying over from practice into games, some good, some bad," Neighbors said. "Nine turnovers against 99 shot attempts is a ratio most coaches in the country can live with.

"Some of our defensive schemes we worked on in practice just didn't take. They have not formed habits yet."

Arkansas trailed at halftime but used a big fourth quarter from Devin Cosper to take control. The 5-10 senior scored 16 of her game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter as the Razorbacks broke away from a 64-64 tie with five minutes left to earn the victory.

Junior-college transfer Raven Northcross-Baker, a Malvern native, added 17 off the bench.

Neighbors said he likely will start the same five that began the exhibition game: Cosper, Malica Monk, Bailey Zimmerman, Kiara Williams and Jailyn Mason.

"I like the spark that Raven brings off the bench," Neighbors said. "We're talking about that kinda becoming her role. I think it's too early to pigeon-hole anybody into anything yet. I also like the spark that Taylah [Thomas] gives us off the bench."

Sam Houston State Coach Brenda Nichols has been there for 12 seasons, and her system is firmly in place.

"This is a team that knows their coach," Neighbors said. "Brenda is one of the greatest players in the history of their school."

The BearKats return eight players from a team that finished 3-25. They also won an exhibition game 76-61 over LSU-Alexandria.

Kiera McKinney, a 6-2 sophomore, led Sam Houston State with 20 points, while three other players were in double figures.

At a glance

ARKANSAS WOMEN'S SCHEDULE

DATE;OPPONENT;TIME

Today;Sam Houston State;10:30 a.m.

Sunday;Samford;1 p.m.

Nov. 16;at Nebraska;8 p.m.

Nov. 20;at Oral Roberts;7 p.m.

Nov. 24;at UTEP+;3:30 p.m.

Nov. 25;New Mexico St.+;1 p.m.

Nov. 29;Abilene Christian;7 p.m.

Dec. 3;at Kansas;2 p.m.

Dec. 7;UNC Charlotte;7 p.m.

Dec. 10;Tulsa;2 p.m.

Dec. 17;Texas-Arlington;2 p.m.

Dec. 21;at Arizona State;3 p.m.

Dec. 28;Grambling State;7 p.m.

Dec. 31;Mississippi*;2 p.m.

Jan. 4;at Mississippi State*;8 p.m.

Jan. 7;Alabama*;3 p.m.

Jan. 11;at Georgia*;6 p.m.

Jan. 14;at Auburn*;4 p.m.

Jan. 18;Florida*;6 p.m.

Jan. 21;at Missouri*;4 p.m.

Jan. 29;Kentucky*;6 p.m.

Jan. 25;at South Carolina*;5:30 p.m.

Feb. 4;at Alabama*;1 p.m.

Feb. 8;Tennessee*;7 p.m.

Feb. 11;Missouri*;4 p.m.

Feb. 15;at Kentucky*;6 p.m.

Feb. 18;LSU*;2 p.m.

Feb. 22;Texas A&M*;7 p.m.

Feb. 25;at Vanderbilt*;2 p.m.

Feb. 28-Mar.4;at SEC Tournament, Nashville, Tenn.

*SEC game

+at UTEP Tournament, El Paso, Texas

Sports on 11/10/2017

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