The UConn womenâ€™s basketball team will make Arkansas the 40th state it has played in Thursday when it takes on the Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
In return, Arkansas will make its first visit to UConn.
The Huskies and Razorbacks deal will be a home-and-home affair. A return date for Thursdayâ€™s game has not been established as the COVID-19 pandemic plays with this yearâ€™s and with future schedules. It has been agreed that Arkansas will visit UConn within the next three years.
Thursdayâ€™s contest will be the second between the schools. The Huskies won the first as Swin Cash had 20 points in a 100-64 win over the Razorbacks at the Four in the Fall final on Nov. 14, 1998, in San Jose, California.
UConn (10-0) will be playing its third non-conference game and is coming off a 72-41 Big East win over Georgetown Saturday.
Arkansas (11-6) was on the road Monday night at Georgia and led by seven with 8:30 to go before the Bulldogs rallied. Gabby Connallyâ€™s 18-footer with 0.9 seconds left gave the hosts a 75-73 victory.
The Razorbacks are led by a trio of fifth-year senior guards in Chelsea Dungee, Destiny Slocum, and Amber Ramirez.
â€śI would venture to say that there are more good guards in college basketball than there are good post players,â€ť UConn coach Geno Auriemma said Saturday. â€śThere may be a few really good post players, but there are a lot of really, really good guard-oriented teams and Arkansas may be the best of all of them. So this is a great challenge for us and a great opportunity for us.â€ť
The game will mark the return of UConn junior guard and Little Rock native Christyn Williams to her native Arkansas.
The Huskies were set to start a home-and-home series with Arkansas-Little Rock this season with a return game in 2021-22 to be Williamsâ€™ homecoming. The pandemic caused the series to be delayed and no determination has been made to whether it will be canceled.
BIG EAST HONOR ROLL
Guard Paige Bueckers didnâ€™t play against Georgetown Saturday after injuring her right ankle in Thursdayâ€™s win at Tennessee.
That didnâ€™t stop her from being named the Big East Freshman of the Week for the fifth time.
Bueckers averaged 11.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 3.5 steals in the Huskiesâ€™ wins over Butler and Tennessee. Though she shot poorly in Knoxville, she hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock running out and 24 seconds left to ice UConnâ€™s 67-61 win over the Lady Vols.
UConn junior guard Christyn Williams was named to the Big East honor roll after averaging 18.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.0 steals in a 3-0 week.
Former UConn guard Andra Espinoza-Hunter earned her second straight Big East Player of the Week honor as the Seton Hall graduate student averaged 29.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in home wins over St. Johnâ€™s and Xavier. Espinoza-Hunterâ€™s teammate with the Pirates, Desiree Elmore of East Hartford, was selected to the honor roll. The senior averaged 19.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.0 steals in two wins.
There was no change among the top four in the Associated Press poll, though each overcame fourth-quarter deficits last week to keep their rankings intact.
Louisville (14-0) was No. 1 for the second straight week, but needed a three-point play with 8.0 seconds left from All-American Dana Evans to beat host Wake Forest 65-63 on Sunday. Second-ranked North Carolina State (11-0) came from 14 points down in the final eight minutes to beat visiting Virginia Tech 89-87 Sunday in its first game in three weeks.
Third-ranked UConn (10-0) trailed host Tennessee by four entering the fourth quarter Thursday night before bouncing back for a 67-61 victory, while No. 4 South Carolina (12-1) was down four with nine minutes to go at LSU before a 9-0 run gave it the lead for good in a 69-65 win.
UCLA (9-2) rounds out the top five.
West Virginia (11-2) and South Dakota State (13-2) were new to the Top 25 at No. 24 and No. 25 respectively, replacing Iowa State and Syracuse.
UConnâ€™s opponents this week, Arkansas and DePaul, checked in at No. 19 and No. 17 respectively. The poll was taken before the Razorbacksâ€™ loss at Georgia Monday night.
Four former UConn All-Americans - Napheesa Collier, Stefanie Dolson, Katie Lou Samuelson, and Breanna Stewart - will be among 19 players taking part in a USA Basketball national team mini-camp Feb. 4-7 at the University of South Carolina. â€¦ Xavier announced a pause in team activities Monday due to COVID-19 issues within the program. Seton Hall, which played the Musketeers on Saturday, is under pause due to contact tracing. UConn is scheduled to host Seton Hall on Feb. 10, and visit Xavier Feb. 20.