FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - The University of Arkansas women's basketball team begins its 2013-14 season with an exhibition matchup against Missouri Southern inside Bud Walton Arena on Sunday. Opening tip is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Keira Peak enters this season as the lone Razorback senior, after stepping into her first full-time starting role last season and scoring in double figures in nine of her first 10 games. The forward took her game to another level last season, as her 9.3 points per game average more than doubled her sophomore output.
Proving to be a court leader and distributor with the ball last season, junior Calli Berna looks to continue her growth and performance on the court this season. Head coach Tom Collen has said that the Fayetteville, Ark., native may be asked to do more offensively this season, but also suggested he has no doubts over her ability to do so.
"I think she's the best point guard in the SEC," Coach Collen said of Berna. "I thought she was last year. I think she needs to step up and score a little bit more. I think she knows that and she's trying to be more aggressive. She's going to play a lot of minutes."
Plenty of new faces should also see the court for the Razorbacks, after Coach Collen signed a freshman class of five newcomers for the 2013-14 season. The group was ranked No. 20 by espnW HoopGurlz this spring, with Jessica Jackson highlighting the group as the No. 17 prospect in the nation.
"This team has a lot of potential," Coach Collen said. "We're awfully young. Seven of our 12 players are freshman, so that's a bit of a challenge for us. But, the good news sometimes is that freshmen are incredibly naive when it comes to the level of competition and the always step on the floor confident and feeling like they can get it done."
Sunday's exhibition will mark the first all-time meeting between Missouri Southern and Arkansas under head coach Tom Collen. Last season, the Lions finished 14-13 overall and in eighth place in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) conference with an 8-10 league record. The Lions were 4-6 on the road last season.
Dominique Mosley is the top returning scorer for the Tigers, after averaging 9.2 points per game last season. The 6-1 senior forward also led Missouri Southern in field goal percentage (.497).
Missouri Southern begins a period of transition this season after its all-time winningest coach in program history, Maryann Mitts, announced her retirement last season. Mitts compiled a 189-145 (.566) record with the Tigers, retiring with a career coaching record of 272-201 (.577). Associate head coach Ronda Hubbard is set to serve as interim head coach for the 2013-14 season.
The 2013-14 schedule has Arkansas playing 18 games against teams who reached either the NCAA or WNIT Tournaments last year and the Razorbacks have expanded their games against regional teams renewing several border rivalries this season.
Season tickets are still available for the 2013-14 season. New this year, fans can choose their seat each game when they purchase a General Admission Season Ticket for $45. Reserved Season Tickets are $90 and Family Plans are available for $100. Included in the Family Plan is two adult and two youth general admission season tickets. Additional youth season tickets can be purchased for $20 each.