The Razorback women’s basketball team (12-15, 3-11) will honor its departing senior and attempt to upset a nationally-ranked team when the No. 17 Texas A&M Aggies (20-8, 9-5) comes to Bud Walton Arena on Thursday.
Graduate guard Devin Cosper will play her last game in Fayetteville after playing three full seasons at the UofA, transferring from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas after her freshman season. Cosper has been the Hogs’ leader on the court this season and their second-best scorer, averaging 14.4 points in a little over 30 minutes per game.
The Hogs are No. 11 in the Southeastern Conference and in the middle of their second four-game losing streak of the season. They face a Texas A&M squad that is coming into the game with an urge to prove themselves late in the season. The Aggies are one spot away from finishing within the Top 16 teams nationally and staying home for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The Aggies have no bad losses but are 1-5 against ranked teams this season.
Arkansas has been on a mission since day one to not finish last in the SEC, as the Hogs were predicted to be at the beginning of the season, and a win against the Aggies, while unlikely, can definitely put them in the position to meet their goal.
The Hogs will meet an Aggie team led by freshman guard Chennedy Carter, who is second in the SEC in points per game with 21.6 points. Down low, the Razorback forwards will face a deadly backcourt of junior forward Anriel Howard and senior center Khaalia Hillsman, who are both averaging double-digits points. Hillsman went for 25 points against the Hogs last season. Meanwhile, Howard is averaging 12 rebounds a game, good for second in the league.
The Aggies don’t attempt many threes, instead focusing on the inside game. The key for the Razorbacks will be to keep them on the perimeter and force them to chuck the ball up from deep.Texas A&M’s best three-point scorer, junior guard Danni Williams, shoots around 36 percent from beyond the arc.
Whatever the Hogs do to stop the Aggies from scoring, they’ll want to keep fouls to a minimum. The Aggies come into Fayetteville as the No. 1 team in the country in made free throws with 477 and No. 9 in free-throw percentage at 77 percent.
Another incentive for Arkansas to win is that the victory would be over Texas A&M coach Gary Blair, a former Razorback coach. Blair coached at the UofA from 1993-2003, where he compiled a 54-75 record. His contract was surprisingly not renewed after his final Razorback team advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament and was ranked No. 24 in the country.
He accepted the job at Texas A&M the season after, and his Aggies were crowned national champions in 2011.
The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and will air live on SEC Network Plus.