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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Arkansas Opens Women’s NIT Tournament Tonight vs Louisiana Tech

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FAYETTEVILLE – The Arkansas women’s basketball team (21-12, 7-9 Southeastern) has qualified for its fifth straight postseason tournament, as the Razorbacks will host Louisiana Tech (19-12, 12-8 Conference USA) in the first round of the Postseason WNIT. This marks the Razorbacks’ eighth WNIT appearance in program history (since the Postseason WNIT was created in 1998), as well as 26th postseason berth. Arkansas’ game versus the Lady Techsters is set for Thursday, March 16 for a 7 p.m. tipoff at Bud Walton Arena. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+. Tickets are available to be purchased, $5 for adults and $3 for children.

GAME INFORMATION

Date: Thursday, March 16

Time: 7 p.m.

Opponent: Louisiana Tech

Location: Bud Walton Arena

Watch: SECN+

Listen: Razorback Sports Network from Learfield

STORYLINES

  • Arkansas received the automatic qualifying bid to the WNIT as the SEC’s highest finisher among teams not chosen for the NCAA Tournament
  • This first-round matchup between Arkansas and LA Tech marks the fourth game of the series and one in which the Razorbacks trail in, 0-3. Arkansas hasn’t played the Lady Techsters since 1983
  • The WNIT appearance marks the program’s eighth appearance, as well as 26th postseason berth. When including WNIT, NWIT and AIAW tournaments, this is Arkansas’ 13th non-NCAA postseason tournament
  • In the Mike Neighbors era, this is his fifth postseason appearance with Arkansas (three NCAA Tournaments including 2020 and now two WNITs)
  • Only three schools in the SEC have qualified for postseason tournaments in each of the past five seasons with Arkansas being one of them. Tennessee and South Carolina are the other two
  • The last time Arkansas made the WNIT in 2019, the Razorbacks hosted three games and made it to the third round. Arkansas defeated Houston (88-80 in OT) and UAB (100-52) before losing to TCU (82-78) in all games played in Fayetteville
  • Arkansas is coming off a quarterfinal appearance at the SEC Tournament for the fourth time in the last five seasons. The Razorbacks defeated Missouri, 85-74, in the second round, but fell to No. 1, eventual SEC Champion South Carolina, 93-65, in the quarterfinals
  • Arkansas’ win over the Tigers in the SEC Tournament marked the eighth SEC Tournament feat in the last six years
  • The Razorbacks are 21-12, which marked the program’s 22nd 20-win season, third under Neighbors
  • Arkansas finished the SEC slate 7-9 to come in eighth in the league. Historically for the program, seven wins is tied for the fourth most wins in SEC play. Only three other seasons have the Razorbacks had more wins in conference play, as Neighborsboasts two of the program’s four winning seasons in league games
  • The team started the season 13-0 and finished the non-conference slate at 13-2, with its win total leading the country for majority of the non-conference season
  • Erynn Barnum earned a spot on the All-SEC Second Team, while Saylor Poffenbarger was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team
  • Barnum leads the team in scoring with 15.7 points. Her .558 field goal percentage is third in the SEC. She surpassed 1,000 points in her career and became the 18th Razorback to join the 1,000 points/500 rebound club
  • Barnum was one of 10 candidates for the Katrina McClain Award, given to the best power forward in the country
  • Samara Spencer is the second leading scorer with 14.2 points per game and leads the team in assists with 138. Her 4.3 assists per game is fifth in the SEC
  • Makayla Daniels leads the team in steals with 54 and averages 13.0 points per game
  • Daniels keeps moving up in career top 10-20 lists for the program, sitting at No. 12 in points (1,405), No. 4 in career starts (118), No. 8 in career 3-pointers (169) and No. 14 in career assists (305)
  • Chrissy Carr logs 11.8 points per game and leads the squad with 77 3-pointers
  • Poffenbarger leads the team in rebounding with 6.7 per game and has 37 blocks. She is now the record holder for single-season defensive rebounds with 193
  • The team is second in least turnovers committed per game in the SEC with 13.7 per game
  • Arkansas gets to the line 23.96 times per game, which is second in the conference and sixth in the country. The Razorbacks’ 15.73 makes from the free throw line per game is second in the SEC and 13th in the NCAA
  • Arkansas leads the SEC in 3-point attempts per game (27.2), which is 10th in the country, and No. 2 in 3-pointers per game (8.2) in the league

SCOUTING LOUISIANA TECH

  • The Lady Techsters finished the season 19-12 and 12-8 in C-USA play to finish fifth in the league
  • Lonoke, Arkansas native Keiunna Walker leads the Lady Techsters with 17.9 points per game and 34 steals.  Walker is an All-C-USA First Team selection and All-Defensive Team honoree
  • Anna Larr Roberson leads LA Tech on the boards with 6.5 per game, while also averaging double digits with 12.7 points per game. Larr Roberson was named to the All-C-USA Second Team
  • The Lady Techsters’ leader in assists is Salma Bates with 109 (3.5 APG) and Mackenzie Wurm has a team’s most blocks with 45
  • LA Tech is coming off a 64-54 loss to UTEP in the C-USA Quarterfinals
  • Brooke Stoehr leads the Lady Techsters in her seventh season at the helm, going into Thursday’s game with 100+ wins at LA Tech and nearly 200 in her career
  • Stoehr has led her teams to two conference championships and now seven postseason appearances, including two in the NCAA, four in the WNIT and one in the WBI

HISTORY AGAINST THE LADY TECHSTERS

  • Arkansas trails LA Tech in the series, 0-3, with this being the fourth game of the series, first in 40 years, taking place Thursday
  • The last time these two teams met was in 1983, resulting in a 75-52 loss in Fayetteville. The other two games were In January 1983 (74-34 loss in Ruston) and 1978 (82-28 loss in Ruston)

LAST TIME OUT

  • Arkansas went 1-1 at the SEC Tournament to make it to the quarterfinals for the fourth time in the last five seasons
  • The Razorbacks dropped its quarterfinal matchup to No. 1 South Carolina (who went on to win the tournament and clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament), 93-66. In the loss, Poffenbarger registered 22 points and four assists, while Spencer had 16 points and three assists. Daniels recorded 12 points
  • The Razorbacks earned an 85-74 win over Missouri in the second round of the SEC Tournament. Arkansas was down by 11 with less than a minute left in the third quarter, but charged on a 16-0 run late in the fourth quarter to earn the victory
  • In that game vs. Missouri to claim the 10th straight win over the Tigers, Carr logged a career-high 34 points for #34 off 11-of-14 from the field, 6-of-8 from 3-point, while Spencer logged 19 points, five rebounds and four assists. Daniels added 17 points and Poffenbarger pulled down 11 rebounds

WNIT HISTORY

  • Arkansas has played in the WNIT/NWIT/AIAW 12 times, with this year marking the program’s 13th appearance
  • The Razorbacks are 16-6 in the WNIT with seven appearances, 4-2 in the NWIT with two appearances and 3-3 in the AIAW Tournament with three appearances
  • Arkansas is a perfect 7-0 in the first round of the WNIT
  • The team’s last appearance in the WNIT came in 2019, where Arkansas made it to the third round. Arkansas defeated Houston (88-80 in OT) and UAB (100-52) before losing to TCU (82-78) in all games played in Fayetteville. The program used the WNIT as a jump starter in which the team went on to qualify for three straight NCAA Tournaments
  • Arkansas won the WNIT in 1999 with its 67-64 win over Wisconsin in the championship game to break a Bud Walton Arena attendance record at 14,163, which is now the fifth best attendance in WNIT history
  • Past WNIT champions are programs that have fared well in the previous years. South Dakota State (2022) is now an NCAA Tournament team along with Arizona (2019), No. 1 seed Indiana (2018), Michigan (2017) and UCLA (2015)

UPCOMING

The winner of Thursday’s game will move on to the second round to face the winner of Texas State vs. Stephen F. Austin. Second round games will take place from March 18 to 21.

Note to Our Readers: The previous story was sourced directly and in its entirety from the University of Arkansas Office of Communications, Kylie Magar.

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Jim Best
Jim Best
Jim Best is a man of many talents. His storied career in Arkansas education led him to a new passion, and hidden gifts in sports journalism.
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