We’re exactly one month away from tip off at Bud Walton Arena and the Arkansas Razorbacks are starting practice under new Head Coach Jimmy Dykes. The Arkansas women’s basketball team returns 4 starters that includes sophomore standout Jessica Jackson who led the team with 16.2 points and 6 rebounds per game a season ago. Senior Jhasmin Bowen, senior Calli Berna and sophomore McKenzie Adams also return as starters for a team that went 19-11 last year.
Jimmy Dykes will be heading into his first season with the Razorbacks. Dykes has spent 8 years coaching under 6 different teams, but is most well-known for his broadcasting where he’s spent the past 20 years working for ESPN. He’s also spent 2 years with the Seattle SuperSonics as an NBA scout.
Feb 15, 2014; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks mascot performs during a timeout in the game against the Louisiana State Tigers at Bud Walton Arena. Arkansas defeated LSU 81-70. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Dykes is excited about the progress of the team and expects big things from the pre-season #23 ranked Lady Razorbacks.
The schedule is brutal as usual for the Hogs as they play 16 games against the nation’s best conference. The Lady Razorbacks will also take on most notably Oklahoma, Iowa and Rutgers at home and Tulsa and Missouri State on the road in non-conference play.
The Arkansas Women’s Basketball team will also take part in the 2015 Play 4Kay initiative. Play 4Kay is an organization that has partnered with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association to fight breast cancer. Kay Yow was a former North Carolina State head coach who passed away in 2009 after battling breast cancer. Throughout her battle, Kay raised money for cutting edge research that has now brought in over 3.8 million in donations.
Arkansas will host #17 LSU on Sunday, February 22nd at 2pm on ESPNU as part of a 7 game initiative that spans over 2 days and contains four top 25 matchups and includes ten top 25 teams total.
Prediction – The Hogs could have one of their best seasons in recent memory with a lot of talent returning, but it will all ride on the scheme and development under the new head coach. I expect Jimmy Dykes to bring a tougher and faster team to the floor that limits mistakes. Lady Razorbacks finish the season 20-10 and 8-8 in the SEC earning them a trip to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.