FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (U of A) - The University of Arkansas women's basketball team (1-0) opened their season on Friday with a 97-58 win over Jackson State (0-1) at Bud Walton Arena in front of more than 3,000 screaming local elementary school children.
Arkansas was led by sophomore Calli Berna, who shot 5-6 from three point range and finished the game with a career high 22 points. Also making an impact for the Razorbacks was Quistelle Williams who added a career high 17 points and gathered seven rebounds. Sophomore Jhasmin Bowen had the games only double-double with a career high 14 points and a career high 10 rebounds. Head coach Tom Collen thought the atmosphere at the first game led to a victory.
"Elementary day creates a lot of energy," Collen said. "I can't think of a better way to open the season. Seeing that many people in the stands really energizes our players. They helped us fight back and put the game away."
The contest started with Arkansas jumping out to a 15-6 advantage to start the game behind five quick points from Berna including a transition three-pointer, two minutes into the game. Berna had 11 first half points to lead the Hogs and was 3-4 from behind the three point arc. After the run by Arkansas, Jackson State fought back to cut the lead to one point at 19-18. A close battle followed with both teams exchanging baskets for the next five minutes before the Razorbacks closed the half on a 12-3 run to lead at the break, 42-34.
The second half began with another Calli Berna three ball, giving her four on the day. Coach Collen was impressed with the sophomore's performance.
"We have encouraged her to not turn down open threes," Collen said. "Today she was hitting them. It was good to see her step up and be aggressive."
The Razorbacks started the half on a 16-5 run and this time did not let the Tigers back into the game. Williams was the leading scorer in the second half with 11 points on 5-6 shooting and also added a three pointer. The defensive pressure turned up and held Jackson State to 22 percent shooting in the half. Arkansas' offense also improved to shoot 63 percent after spreading the floor in the second half. The Razorbacks finished the game with 26 assists and only 11 turnovers.
Next up, Arkansas will hit the road for the first time this season when they travel to Tulsa on Nov. 15 to take on the Golden Hurricane.
For more information regarding Razorback women's basketball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
(Source: University of Arkansas)