FAYETTEVILLE – Junior Calli Berna coordinated a balanced offensive attack with a career-high 13 assists and three freshmen scored in double figures, as the Arkansas women’s basketball team earned an 81-45 win in its season-opener against Sam Houston State on Friday.
Jessica Jackson and Kelsey Brooks each scored 17 points, while McKenzie Adams poured in 16 of her own on 4-of-6 shooting from three-point range to lead an efficient offensive attack for Arkansas in its home and season opener. Combined, the Razorback freshmen shot 44.8 percent from the floor and were an impressive 10-for-19 from beyond the arc for almost 58 percent.
“I wasn’t thinking about the assists,” Berna said of her performance. “What it tells me is that there are a lot of my teammates making baskets and I just want to do whatever the team needs so that we can be successful.”
We had really good shooting today,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “We were balanced and I think we have some pretty happy freshmen today.”
Feeding off the energy of a youthful Elementary Day crowd of more than 4,000 inside Bud Walton Arena, Arkansas opened the game on a 14-4 run with 55.6 percent shooting. Adams got things rolling early from beyond the arc, hitting a quick six points on back-to-back threes.
The Razorbacks built a 29-10 lead just over midway through the first half, shooting above 50 percent as a team from both the field and three-point range. Over the stretch, five Razorbacks scored, as Jackson recorded five points, while Joey Bailey (4), Jhasmin Bowen (4), Kelsey Brooks (4) and Keira Peak (4) also tallied points.
Arkansas finished the first half shooting 54.8 percent as a group from the floor and 55.6 percent from three-point range, taking a 45-25 lead into the locker room. Jackson finished the first half of action with 12 points and tied for the game’s leading scorer through the first 20 minutes.
There were no signs of slowing down from the Razorbacks to open the second half, coming out on a 17-9 run and swelling their lead to 62-34 just over halfway through the half. Adams led the charge with 10 points over the stretch, improving to 4-for-5 from three-point range and 16 total points.
Nine Razorbacks scored baskets in the dominating win, as the team finished shooting 50 percent from the floor and 57.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Much of the Arkansas offense was generated off the standout performance on defense, as the Bearkats were forced into 24 turnovers during the game. The Razorbacks scored 32 points off of turnovers alone.
Arkansas remains home and continues its non-conference schedule hosting Oral Roberts at Bud Walton Arena on Nov. 13. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.