Lady'Backs announce non-conference basketball schedule

FAYETTEVILLE – Old and new are featured in the non-conference schedule for the 2007-08 University of Arkansas women’s basketball team. Lady Razorback head coach Tom Collen released the dates for the pre-Southeastern Conference portion of the Lady’Backs schedule today.

The SEC part of the Arkansas schedule – the 14-regular season dates – are anticipated from the league office in Birmingham during the opening weeks of August.

Collen begins his first season with Arkansas this fall, and the former Lady Razorback assistant head coach is excited about the upcoming schedule which includes 10 games in Fayetteville plus the annual trip to Hot Springs.

“The first thing that I think fans will notice about the schedule is how many great games we have for them at Bud Walton Arena,” Collen said. “Lady’Back fans are known across the country for being some of the best in women’s basketball, and this schedule should get them excited.”

But the important item on the slate for the first-year coaching staff is the foreign tour of Canada over Labor Day weekend. Arkansas travels to British Columbia for the first time. By taking the foreign tour, Arkansas gets 10 additional practice dates prior to the games.

“With a new staff and a very young team, these extra practices and games might be the best part of the schedule,” Collen said.

For season ticket holders, the first regular season appearance at Walton Arena by a traditional member of the ACC and the return to Fayetteville of an old Southwest Conference rival highlight the non-conference home games.

Clemson comes to Walton on Dec. 2 for a Sunday afternoon game. Last season, Arkansas upset the Tigers in the season opener on the road at Clemson. The ACC has been rare on Arkansas schedule with Georgia Tech played a 1999 WNIT game at Arkansas and then Big East member Boston College traveled to Fayetteville back in the early 1990s.

Texas Tech rings in the New Year on Jan. 5 as the final non-conference game before the start of SEC play. Arkansas and Tech squared off 24 times when the two were members of the Southwest Conference. This is the first meeting since 1991 when Arkansas left the SWC as the two-time regular season champion.

“We’re excited about the home-and-home with Texas Tech because it is a chance to renew one of the great old rivalries Arkansas had from the SWC days,” Collen said.

In a nod to the SWC era, Arkansas and Tech plan on a Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. – the traditional league game day from the 1980s.

The Lady’Backs open the 2007-08 season with four straight home games, starting with Lipscomb on Nov. 11 and finishing with regional rival Tulsa on Nov. 20. Arkansas plays the first of two tournament events on the schedule with Texas-San Antonio over the Thanksgiving break week.

Arkansas’ lone road game prior to SEC play is Nov. 28 at Missouri. The Lady’Backs begin a run of five in-state games with Clemson Dec. 2 before playing a pair of Southland Conference games. Arkansas hosts Sam Houston in Fayetteville on Dec. 4 before the Fall 2007 finals period, then returns to the court after exams to play Northwestern State at Hot Springs in The Summit on Dec. 13 at 6 p.m.

A first-ever trip to New Hampshire awaits Arkansas during the holiday break as the Lady’Backs travel to the Dartmouth Tournament on Dec. 29-30.

Tickets for the upcoming 2007-08 women’s basketball season go on sale soon.