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Arkansas faces Mississippi State Sunday

02/02/2013
Athletic Communications
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STARKVILLE, MISS. – Coming off of a road win in Oxford, Miss., the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team concludes their road trip on Sunday in Starkville for a matchup against Mississippi State. Arkansas enters at 15-6 (3-5 SEC) and will face a 9-12 (1-7 SEC) Bulldogs squad.

On Thursday night Arkansas defeated Ole Miss 77-66, led by a career night from senior Sarah Watkins. She scored a career high 28 points, recording 20 plus points for the third time this season. Her previous highs were 25 points at Hawaii and 22 points versus Coppin State. Watkins was also 6-for-7 at the free throw line, and leads the SEC by shooting 85.9 percent at the stripe.

“It was a great win for us,” head coach Tom Collen said. “Wins in Oxford come few and far between. I was really happy that we came in there, and with our backs were against the wall, for our kids to play that way under those circumstances. I couldn’t be happier and prouder of their effort.”

Arkansas is looking to continue the solid all around play that was on display at Ole Miss. The Razorbacks had four players in double figures for the first time in SEC play, as in addition to Watkins’ 28 points Jhasmin Bowen scored 14 points, and Keira Peak and Quistelle Williams each had 12 points. Arkansas shot 48.4 percent from the field, their highest total in conference play. Calli Berna did not turn the ball over against the Rebels, her fourth zero turnover game of the season. Berna is second in the NCAA and the SEC with a 3.0 assist to turnover ratio, currently at 126 assists and just 42 turnovers.

Mississippi State is 9-12, and all of their wins have come at home. The Razorbacks have an 18-12 lead in the all-time series, and while Arkansas has won five of the past six matchups, they are just 6-7 all-time in Starkville. The Bulldogs are led by the duo of Kendra Grant (12.5 points per game) and Martha Alwai (12.3 points per game). One of the two has led the Bulldogs in scoring in 16 of their 21 games this season. Mississippi State is led by first year head coach Vic Schaefer. Schaefer was an associate head coach at Arkansas from 1997 – 2003, and went to four NCAA Tournaments.

“The win at Ole Miss gives us a running start to come down to Starkville and play a good basketball game,” Collen said. “It gives us a shot at a 2-0 record on a difficult road trip. Mississippi State has played all the good teams and they’ve played some teams close. They’re a competitive team, so we need to continue to play well inside and make some outside shots.”

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