Razorbacks have two on the road

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team travels to Auburn and South Carolina this week for back-to-back Southeastern Conference road games Thursday and Sunday.

Arkansas (9-14, 1-9 SEC) opens the week at Auburn (12-12, 3-8) in a 6 p.m. game Thursday. The Razorbacks remain on the road traveling directly to South Carolina (13-10, 6-5 SEC) for a Sunday game that is televised by ESPN2.

“We’re going into the week taking one day, one game at a time,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “We’re focusing on the little things and trying to continue to get better every day.”

Sophomore Lyndsay Harris has been first or second for the Razorbacks all season and leads the team this week with 12.5 ppg. Senior Charity Ford’s 12.1 ppg and sophomore C’eira Ricketts’ 10.3 ppg round out the Razorbacks’ top three. Sophomore Ashley Daniels leads the team with 6.8 rpg.

“We’re looking forward to getting out on the road,” Collen said. “Our first challenge is Auburn. They are extremely young and this is more of a level playing field for us in terms of playing experience.

“We always play Auburn strong,” Collen continued, “but there is not another player in the country like KeKe Carrier.”

Carrier is a 6-7 senior post for the Tigers who averages 13.7 ppg and 7.6 rpg this year.

Another obstacle Arkansas can expect from Auburn is the 2-3 zone. The Razorbacks have struggled against the zone at times this year and Auburn is one of the best teams in executing this defense.

“Auburn has played mostly zone in the past,” Collen said. “KeKe is very intimidating in the paint and it’s been effective for them. The zone is probably their best defense but we’re better against the zone now than we were at the beginning of the year. We know we have to score from the outside and open up the inside.”

Arkansas is young and getting younger by the day. The Razorbacks head into the week with a couple of question marks on veteran players. Senior Ashley McCray is battling a shoulder injury that sidelined her last week and junior three-point shooter Brittney Richardson has missed two games with illness. Both are still considered day-to-day.

Despite the potential loss of experienced players the Razorbacks are gaining experience for some of the younger players. Freshman Quistelle Williams and junior college transfer Skye Rees have seen an increase in minutes and production in recent weeks.

“It’s easy for this young team to get frustrated,” Collen said. “We just have to keep pushing. The coaching staff continues to demand that we play at a high level and we’re working on ways to do that in a positive manner to keep moving forward.”

The Razorbacks return home next week hosting Ole Miss Thursday and Alabama Sunday in the final two regular season games of the year. Sunday’s Alabama game is Pink Day and Senior Day.