Arkansas women’s basketball hosts Arkansas-Fort Smith at exhibit
FAYETTEVILLE – Sasha Goforth and Jersey Wolfenbarger both grew up dreaming of wearing an Arkansas Razorback jersey and playing at Walton Arena.
That dream comes true tonight as the Razorbacks women’s basketball team opens the season by hosting the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith in an exhibition game. Departure is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Goforth, a 6-0 sophomore, played a short distance from the University of Arkansas campus at Fayetteville High, while Wolfenbarger, a 6-6 freshman, stood out at Fort Smith Northside.
“I’ve been really here to watch since I was very young and finally playing on this pitch is really, really exciting,” said Goforth. “I think that’s obviously going to mean a lot to both of us.”
“I am proud to be here and proud to be able to represent my state,” added Wolfenbarger. “Just to be kind of that role model for the young girls who dream of Arkansas. Sasha and I are living that dream. We grow with this program and can make our mark on it.”
The two have acknowledged that many family and friends will be in the stands tonight to watch their debut with Razorback. But that’s a different feeling for Goforth, who transferred to Arkansas after her debut season at Oregon State.
Goforth’s family couldn’t see her play in person last season, so tonight will be very special.
“Personally, I am really delighted that my family is able to watch me in person for the first time in college,” said Goforth. “I think it gets on the nerves a bit, but I’m definitely excited.”
The duo are just two on a list of Razorbacks that includes six newcomers and five real freshmen. Half of the 14 players on the list are also from Arkansas.
Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors said his team have tremendous depth, which brings a different kind of problem heading into today’s game.
“I feel like we have nine kids who are expecting to start,” Neighbors said. “From my last count, it’s four too many. We have a lot of good competitions going on. We have options that we’ve never had before and we’re delighted to be able to play in front of our fans.”
Having the pits full after a season full of limitations will be welcome.
“The return of the fans is [the] the first thing that’s going to impact us, “said Neighbors.” Because we definitely fed off the energy in our building and our fans. The nights we had this place full, we did great things. “
The Razorbacks had big wins over Baylor and Connecticut, as well as an evening victory over Alabama in front of sold-out crowds at Walton Arena.
Arkansas officially opens the season by hosting Tarleton State on Wednesday and begins a three-game five-day streak, culminating in a road trip to face No.2 UConn on November 14.
UAFS coach Ryan McAdams has said the game will be a measure for his Division II Lady Lions.
“It will be a hostile environment against a relentless group of top players and we will see how well we react to the adversity that results,” said McAdams, who was hired in July. “We had two scrimmages against an MIAA team and a junior college, so that will be a significant step forward.”
The Lady Lions were chosen to finish 14th in the 16-team Lone Star Conference in a recent media / coaching poll after a season cut short by covid-19. They only played nine games, finishing 3-6 before deciding to end the season.
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Arkansas-Fort Smith to Arkansas
WHAT Exhibition game
O Walton Arena, Fayetteville
RADIO KABZ-FM, 103.7, in Little Rock; KQSM-FM, 92.1, in Fayetteville; KFPW-AM, 1230, and KFPW-FM, 94.5, at Fort Smith; KURM-AM, 790, and KURM-FM, 100.3, at Rogers.
PROBABLE START ALIGNMENTS
NAME; HT.; AN.; PPG; RPG
Erynn Barnum; 6-2; RJr.; 7.7; 4.6
Jersey Wolfenbarger; 6-6; Fr.; N / A; N / A
Sasha Goforth; 6-0; So.; 11.6; 3.6
Amber Ramirez; 5-9; RSr.; 13.5; 2.9
Makayla Daniels; 5-9; Jr.; 11.6; 3.0
COACH Mike Neighbors (78-50 in fifth season at Arkansas)
POS; NAME; HT.; AN.; PPG; RPG
Paige Elston; 5-6; Sr.; 9.8; 4.3
Dachelle Terry; 5-6; Sr.; 8.0; 2.9
Riley Hayes; 5-8; Fr.; N / A; N / A
Leiloni Culley; 5-10; Jr.; N / A; N / A
Laurissa Campbell; 5-10; Jr.; 5.4; 5.1
COACH Ryan McAdams (first season at Arkansas-Fort Smith)
CHALK TALK The Arkansas-Fort Smith roster features three players from Northwestern Arkansas. Springdale Har-Ber graduate Dachelle Terry and former Bentonville Lady Tiger Riley Hayes are listed as likely starters.
Statistics are for the 2020-21 season