Lady ‘Backs to face Tro­jans in NLR

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - Spe­cial to the Courier

FAYET­TEVILLE – Arkansas Women’s Basketball will play the Lit­tle Rock Tro­jans at Ver­i­zon Arena on Dec. 21, Head Coach Mike Neigh­bors an­nounced Wed­nes­day. The two schools will play fol­low­ing Vice Chan­cel­lor and Di­rec­tor of Ath­let­ics Hunter Yu­rachek’s an­nounce­ment last Au­gust that the Ra­zor­backs would start to play other schools in the Univer­sity of Arkansas sys­tem. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.

“When Ath­letic Di­rec­tor Yu­rachek an­nounced that the board ap­proved play­ing in-sys­tem, in-state in­sti­tu­tions last Au­gust, we im­me­di­ately were hope­ful of sched­ul­ing a game or se­ries of games with Lit­tle Rock,” Coach Neigh­bors said. “Coach (Joe) Fo­ley has built their pro­gram into a peren­nial Ncaa-cal­iber team, so play­ing them will ben­e­fit our pro­gram and build sup­port for women’s basketball across the state. When it be­came clear they were equally as in­ter­ested in play­ing us, I couldn’t help but be ex­cited to get the se­ries set. Coach Fo­ley started out as some­one I idol­ized in women’s basketball dur­ing his ten­ure at Arkansas Tech, be­came some­one I tried to em­u­late as my col­le­giate ca­reer be­gan, and has be­come a trusted col­league over the last 20 years. To share a side­line with him and our teams will be very spe­cial.”

“This game is very ex­cit­ing for the state of Arkansas and some­thing the peo­ple in the state have wanted for years,” Tro­jans Head Coach Joe Fo­ley said. “We will be mak­ing his­tory start­ing this se­ries just like our baseball team did last spring. This game will be great for the state and great for both pro­grams.”

De­spite the prox­im­ity of the schools, this will be just the sec­ond meet­ing ever be­tween the two pro­grams, and the first since De­cem­ber of 1977. The Hogs won the only meet­ing, beat­ing the Tro­jans 74-54 on the road. It will be Arkansas’ first visit to Lit­tle Rock since 2015, when the SEC Tour­na­ment was held there. The Ra­zor­backs have played well in Ver­i­zon Arena, or All­tel Arena as it was for­merly known, over the years, sport­ing a 7-5 all­time record.

Lit­tle Rock is com­ing off of a great sea­son, in which they went 21-11 over­all and won the Sun Belt Con­fer­ence courtesy of their stel­lar 15-3 mark in con­fer­ence play. The Tro­jans’ solid cam­paign earned the pro­gram its sec­ond straight trip to the NCAA Tour­na­ment, but Coach Fo­ley’s team fell in round one to fifth-seeded Gon­zaga. The Tro­jans lost lead­ing scorer Ron­janae Degray to grad­u­a­tion, but Kyra Col­lier, who was sec­ond on the team with 14.4 points per game last sea­son, re­turns to Lit­tle Rock for her fi­nal col­le­giate sea­son.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Arkansas Women’s Basketball, fol­low us on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram at @Ra­zor­back­wbb and on Face­book at Face­book.com/ Ra­zor­back­wbb. Be sure to sub­scribe to our Youtube Chan­nel, “Kickin’ It In

The Neigh­bor­hood” for an in­side look at the Ra­zor­back women’s basketball pro­gram and check out The Neigh­bor­hood pod­casts at Coach­neigh­bors.com.

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