The Razorback women’s basketball team earned a road victory on Thursday with a 77-66 win over Ole Miss. Senior Sarah Watkins had a career night, shooting 11-15 from the field and 6-7 from the free throw line en route to a career high 28 points. Arkansas had four players in double figures for the first time in SEC play, including Watkins, Jhasmin Bowen (14), Quistelle Williams (12) and Keira Peak (12). Arkansas shot 48.4 percent from the field, their highest percentage in SEC play. The Razorbacks remain on the road until Sunday’s matchup at Mississippi State.
ARKANSAS AND SCHAEFER HAVE HISTORY
Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer (in his first season at State) is a former Arkansas associate head coach under former Razorback head coach Gary Blair. Schaefer was with the Razorbacks from 1997-2003. During that run, he helped the Razorbacks to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Final Four berth in his inaugural season. The following year, Arkansas went on to claim the WNIT national championship. State assistant coach Johnny Harris was also an assistant with the Razorbacks.
CAREER NIGHT FOR WATKINS
In a road game at Ole Miss, Sarah Watkins had a record setting night. Watkins scored a career high 28 points, tying a career high with 11 makes from the field. Watkins scored over 20 points for the third time this season, previously scoring 22 points against Coppin State and 25 points at Hawaii.
RAZORBACKS VERSUS RANKED TEAMS
Arkansas has played five games against ranked teams this season – at home against No. 17 Kansas, No. 24 Texas A&M, No. 13 Georgia and No. 14 South Carolina, and in Hawaii against No. 13 Oklahoma. In those games two players have stepped up by bettering their season numbers against ranked team. Keira Peak is Arkansas’ leading scorer against ranked foes, posting 12.2 points per game, higher than her season average of 11.0. Calli Berna, who averages 8.1 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game, is scoring 9 points and averaging 5.2 rebounds against ranked opponents. Arkansas is 1-4 versus ranked teams, but played tight battles in all five matchups. The Razorbacks took an 11-point halftime lead versus Georgia, and fell by just one possession against Oklahoma and South Carolina.
CAN I BUY A BASKET
The Razorbacks are 1-4 against ranked teams, but battled hard in all five games, including taking an 11 point lead into halftime against Georgia. Arkansas lost three of those games by four points or less...No. 13 Oklahoma 70-73: No. 13/12 Georgia 53-57; No. 14 South Carolina, 40-43.
Sophomore Calli Berna has continued to distribute the ball well this season. Last year the point guard recorded 88 assists as a freshman. She has already surpassed that with 126 going into the Mississippi State game this year. Berna is over the 200-assist mark for her career and ranks 21st and climbing in the career assists category.
We talk a lot about Arkansas’ defense and it has been good this year. The Razorbacks have played five ranked teams and have held those teams to just 58.4 ppg this year. Junior Keira Peak is averaging 12.2 ppg and 5.6 rpg against ranked teams followed by Sarah Watkins with 10.6 ppg and 4.8 rpg. Quistelle Williams leads the team with 7.4 rpg against ranked opponents.
ARKANSAS AGAINST THE WORLD
Arkansas is 33rd in the country in three-point field goal defense. The Razorbacks allow just 26.6 percent from long distance this year. Arkansas is 24th in the country with a 1.07 assist/turnover ration and 28th in scoring margin with a +13.3 differential. The Razorbacks rank 36th in the country in turnover margin with a 4.52 mark and 28th in turnovers per game averaging just 14.1 per contest. Arkansas is 53rd in the country in scoring defense, holding opponents to 55.4 ppg and 44th in field goal percentage defense with a 35.4 mark. That mark is fourth in the SEC.
ARKANSAS INDIVIDUALS IN THE NCAA STATS
Sophomore Calli Berna ranks second in the country this week in assist turnover ratio, averaging a 3.00 margin. Berna is 22nd in the country in assists per game with 6.0 per contest and she is 126th in the nation with 2.38 steals per game this week. Senior Sarah Watkins ranks 31st in the country shooting 85.9 percent from the free throw line.
GATLING STEPS IN AND STARS
Against LSU, Erin Gatling became the third different player to start at the shooting guard spot this season. The senior, who was making her first career start at Arkansas, responded with a then-career high 14 points. After making three straight starts, Gatling came off the bench at Missouri, but responded with another career night, scoring 23 points on a scorching hot 6-10 from behind the 3 point-line.
Gatling (Van Buren) combined with point guard Calli Berna (Fayetteville) to give the Razorbacks an all-Arkansas native backcourt. The duo combined for 35 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, and six steals against the Tigers. The scoring total represented the highest output for two backcourt mates all season.
BOWEN BUCKS UP
In her sophomore season, Jhasmin Bowen has settled into a starting role, making 16 consecutive starts. Since scoring a career high 17 points against Northwestern State, she had been relatively quiet offensively, scoring just 14 points in the first six SEC games. She stepped up against the Gamecocks, hitting her first four shots and leading the team with 13 points.
A trio of freshmen has made contributions for the Razorbacks this season - redshirt freshman Joey Bailey and true freshmen Dominique Wilson and Melissa Wolff. Wilson and Wolff are each averaging over 16 minutes per game. Wilson has made six starts at guard already, and is heating up in SEC play. Wilson scored eight points against Vanderbilt and then tied her career high with 12 points against Georgia. Wolff has also had a number of strong performances this season, including a career best 15 points at Furman and a career high 11 rebounds at Auburn. Bailey has also provided a lift off the bench, getting back to action after taking a medical redshirt after playing eight games last season.
PEAK PLAYS ON
Keira Peak got off to a hot start this season, exploding for a career high 30 points against No. 13 Oklahoma and being named MVP of the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic by scoring 70 points over three games. Since then, she has settled into a consistent pace both on the scoreboard and on the glass. She has recorded double-digit points 12 times, and double-digit rebounds four times this season, including three double-doubles. Peak is second on the team in both scoring (11.0 points per game) and rebounding (6.2 rebounds per game).
This season Arkansas has had a variety of different players step up to lead the team in scoring and rebounding. Eight different players have led Arkansas in points this season – led by Sarah Watkins who has had the team lead seven different times. There have been eight different leading rebounders this season – led by Keira Peak who has paced the team eight different times.
STRONG ON D
The Razorbacks have been very strong on defense this season. Arkansas has held opponents under 20 points in a half six times this season, including three times in the first half of SEC play. Against Missouri, the nation’s leader in three pointers made per game, the Razorbacks tight defense held the Tigers to 6-20 from long distance. UA is fourth in the SEC in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to a 37.9 percent clip from the field.
CONSECUTIVE GAMES STREAK
Senior Sarah Watkins has played in 118 consecutive games in her Arkansas career, which is tied for the 15th longest consecutive games played streak in the NCAA. Watkins has the third longest streak in the SEC, behind Georgia’s Jasmine Hassell and Vanderbilt’s Tiffany Clarke. Among forwards, Watkins has the sixth longest streak in the NCAA.
HITTING THE OFFENSIVE GLASS
Arkansas has generated numerous second chances this season by being strong on the offensive glass. The Razorbacks have two players in the top-15 in the SEC in offensive rebounding, with Quistelle Williams (2.8 offensive rebounds per game) and Keira Peak (2.7). The Razorbacks average 15.0 offensive rebounds per game in all games.
WATKINS, PEAK RANK IN SCORING IN THE SEC
Senior Sarah Watkins and junior Keira Peak lead the Razorbacks and are ranked in the SEC in all games in scoring this week. Watkins is 13th overall averaging 12.9 ppg with 271 points scored. Peak is 30th with 11.0 ppg and 231 points scored in all games.
CLEANING THE GLASS
Senior Quistelle Williams ranks 10th in rebounding in all games this week. Williams averages 6.9 rebounds per game with 59 offensive and 85 defensive boards. She is 10th in offensive boards with 2.8 rpg. Williams ranks 11th in SEC only games with 7.1 rpg this year. Junior Keira Peak is 18th with a 6.2 average. Peak has 57 offensive and 73 defensive rebounds in all games.
BERNA HELPS OUT
Sophomore Calli Berna ranks third in the SEC in assists this week. The Fayetteville, Ark., native averages 6.0 assists per game with 126 through 21 games. Berna is fourth in SEC only games with 5.9 apg. Berna also ranks second in both the NCAA and the SEC in assist/turnover ratio. The point guard has 126 assists and just 42 turnovers for a 3.0 ratio this week. She leads the SEC in conference only games with 47 assists to 15 turnovers for a 3.1 ratio. Berna did not turn the ball over against the Rebels, her fourth game this season with zero turnovers.
LEADING THE SEC AT THE LINE
Senior Sarah Watkins leads the SEC in all games this week in free throw percentage. The Germantown, Tenn., native is shooting 85.9 percent from the line making 67 of 78 this year. Watkins is fourth in SEC only games shooting 82.8 percent on 24-for-29. Calli Berna is 11th in the league making 70.5 percent of her free shots. Berna is 55-for-78 this season.
GIVE ME A MINUTE
Calli Berna is first in the SEC and fifth in all games in minutes played this week. Berna averages 33.4 minutes per game in all contests and 39.1 in SEC games this season.
Arkansas ranks third in all games in the SEC in assist/turnover ratio this week. The Razorbacks check in with a 1.1 a/t ratio with 318 assists and 297 turnovers. The Razorbacks also rank fifth in the SEC in turnover margin (+4.5).
ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE
The Razorbacks faced Mississippi State twice last season, winning both matchups by an average margin of 15 points.
Mississippi State is 9-12, 1-7 in the SEC. MSU is 9-4 at home.
The Bulldogs are led by the duo of Kendra Grant (12.5 points per game) and Martha Alwal (12.3 ppg). One of those two has been the Bulldogs leading scorer in 16 of 21 games this season.
Mississippi State has a -8.1 scoring margin, a -2.3 rebounding margin, and a -3.0 turnover margin.
Arkansas leads the all-time series 18-12, although they are 6-7 in Starkville. The Razorbacks have won five of the past six contests between the two clubs.
Mississippi State Head Coach Vic Schaefer was an associate head coach at Arkansas from 1997-2003. He is in his first season as the head coach of the Bulldogs.
LUNCH WITH TOM COLLEN
Fans are invited to join Razorback head coach Tom Collen for monthly luncheons at the Clarion Inn in Fayetteville again this year. The 2012-13 season marks the eighth year the event has taken place at the Clarion and it is believed to be the 19th year that head coaches and student-athletes have taken part in mid-day events.
The price for this year’s luncheon is $12 and the dates are Nov. 12, Dec. 10, Jan. 14, Feb. 11 and March 11. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. Contact the Razorback marketing office for more information.
THE FRIENDLY CONFINES OF BUD WALTON ARENA
Arkansas is 209-78 in 20 seasons in Bud Walton Arena including an 87-2 mark this year. Arkansas has had 18 winning seasons at Bud including 13 seasons with double figure wins. Arkansas has had 14 wins in a single season at Bud twice including the team’s 14-2 mark last year. The Razorbacks set a record with a 15-4 mark in Bud Walton in the 1998-99 season.
RAZORBACKS ON TV
The Razorbacks have eight regular season games scheduled for television this season. Arkansas hosted Kansas, Dec. 6 and Missouri Feb. 17 in games that aired on COX in a regional market. The Razorbacks have four scheduled appearances on the FOX Sports Network, first Jan. 6 against Texas A&M, at Missouri and at Mississippi State Feb. 3, and finally at Georgia Feb. 21. Arkansas moves to the SEC Network Feb. 24, hosting Tennessee and finally appears on Sun Sports Feb. 28 at Florida. All of the SEC Tournament games will also be televised.
100 RAZORBACK WINS
Head coach Tom Collen is in his sixth season as the Razorbacks’ head coach and has a 105-69 record at Arkansas. Collen reached his 100th win at Arkansas against Pepperdine becoming the third coach in program history to do so joining Gary Blair (198-120, 10 years) and John Sutherland (174-88, 9 years). He is 15-6 this season for a 108-73 record.
WATKINS PICKED BY COACHES; ARKANSAS NINTH
University of Arkansas senior Sarah Watkins earned a first-team nod and the Razorbacks were selected ninth in the Southeastern Conference Coaches Preseason Poll. Watkins, who was a preseason second-team pick by the league’s media, was a second-team honoree last year for the Razorbacks.
As a team, the Razorbacks returned to the NCAA Tournament last year, reaching the postseason for the third time in five seasons under Collen. Arkansas set program records for most SEC wins, most consecutive SEC wins and for the team’s finish, a tie for fourth last year.
ABOUT LAST YEAR
The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team is coming off its most successful season under head coach Tom Collen. In fact, they are coming off one of the most successful years since joining the Southeastern Conference. Eight consecutive SEC wins, a program-best tie for fourth place in the standings, two rounds deep into the SEC Tournament matched by a second round appearance at the NCAA Tournament are just a few of highlights.
ABOUT THE SCHEDULE
Arkansas’ schedule will challenge them early and often, long before the start of the always tough SEC schedule. The Razorbacks face 11 teams who participated in the postseason a year ago and opens with five of the first six games on the road.
The SEC is always tough and this year the Razorbacks welcome Missouri and Texas A&M to the family. Although the schedule remains at 16 games, the road to one of the top spots in the conference definitely got tougher.