North Arkansas College, St. Louis Community College, the Lady Tigers club team, and Arkansas State University Mid-South will battle in the Lady Greyhound Classic Friday and Saturday.
Games will be played in the Glen F. Fenter Athletic Complex on the ASU Mid-South campus, and admission is $5 for adults and $3 for school-age children. ASU Mid-South students and staff will be admitted free with their college ID cards. The Classic is sponsored by the West Memphis Advertising & Promotion Commission.
Action begins Friday afternoon with the Lady Pioneers of Harrison squaring off against the Lady Tigers at 5 p.m. At the conclusion of the opener, the host team will take on St. Louis in the nightcap. On Saturday, NorthArk and St. Louis will take the court at 1 p.m., and ASU Mid-South and the Lady Tigers will follow at 3.
NorthArk, St. Louis, and ASU Mid-South are all National Junior College Athletic Association Division II teams, and the Lady Tigers are independent. Lady Greyhounds Coach Sonja Tate said the competition will be fierce but welcome.
"Any game that is going to make us better, I'm up for it," she said. "I have never been one to shy away from tough competition because we're going to have to beat some good teams to achieve our goals. At the end of the day, we'll play NorthArk for the right to advance to the district tournament, and our goal at this point is to get better each game in preparation for that contest."
The Lady Greyhounds are off to a 1-5 start, but four of the losses came against Division I foes – Crowder College, Northwest Mississippi Community College, John A. Logan College, and Columbia State Community College (in overtime). ASU Mid-South owns a home victory over Division I Shawnee Community College and has a road loss to Division II NorthArk.
In the setbacks to the Lady Pioneers and the Lady Volunteers of Logan College, ASU Mid-South lost by a total of nine points. And the Lady Greyhounds played Columbia State even for 40 minutes before running out of gas in overtime.
The schedule won't get any easier after this weekend's tournament. ASU Mid-South's women will play 12 of its remaining 16 games against Division I foes and just 4 against colleges in their own division.
"The schedule looks great to me," said Coach Tate, whose only scheduling input after accepting the job last spring was adding two games with Columbia State. "It's a tough schedule, but it's not going to look much different next year."
The key clash will be Feb. 27 against the Lady Pioneers, which will be the fourth meeting of the year between the in-state rivals.
"It's going to be about who really wants it," Tate said.
ASU Mid-South earned the regional crown in 2013-14, but NorthArk regained it last season. For more information about Lady Greyhound/Greyhound athletics, see the college's website at www.asumidsouthsports.com.