FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas senior Sarah Watkins
dropped in a game-high 22 points leading the Razorback women’s basketball team to a 93-52 win over Ole Miss in the Southeastern Conference finale in Bud Walton Arena on Senior Day Sunday.
Watkins and the Razorbacks shot a season-best 60 percent going 36-60 from the floor and hit a season-best 12 three pointers, just one shy of the school record. The 41-point win is a program-best against and SEC team.
“I wanted to go out and play without thinking,” Watkins said. “I just wanted to play and it worked out.”
“We got off to a good start and once we got the lead we were able to run away from them,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen
said. “There is no question that Sarah deserves to start and we are a better team with her on the floor. My biggest fear on Senior Day is that the team is uptight and we were to start but we were able to overcome that and settle down.”
Nine players scored for Arkansas and four were in double figures led by Watkins. Quistelle Williams
had 16 and Erin Gatling
and Dominique Wilson
had 13 each for Arkansas.
Ole Miss opened game on a 5-0 run forcing three Arkansas turnovers in the early minutes. The Lady Rebels stretched the lead to 8-2 as the turnovers continued for the Razorbacks. Arkansas committed six turnovers in the first seven possessions of the game.
scored Arkansas’ first five points and hit a big three as the Razorbacks woke up offensively. Berna finished with eight points, nine assists and six rebounds in the win.
The Razorbacks stayed the course and Berna hit a three off an in bounds play giving Arkansas its first lead, 14-12, at the 13:56 mark. That basket capped a 9-0 run for the Razorbacks.
The fire continued for Arkansas as they had firm control of the momentum and the Razorbacks put together an 11-2 run over nearly a four minute stretch as the home team expanded the lead to 12, 32-20, at the 7:32 mark of the first half.
Arkansas finished the first 20 minutes shooting 58.6 percent on 17-for-29 from the floor. The Razorbacks were 6-for-11 from beyond the arc and Watkins had 18 points at the break to lead all scorers. They led by as many as 21 and took a 46-30 lead into the halftime locker room. Arkansas’ 46 first-half points are the most scored in an SEC game this season.
The hot shooting continued for Arkansas in the second half as they led by as many as 44 in the final 20 minutes. Arkansas out-rebounded Ole Miss 42-26 and finished with 29 assists, a school record in an SEC game for the Razorbacks.
“I think this team can beat anyone,” Collen said. I think this was a shot in the arm as we head to the SEC Tournament. We need to make a run deep in the tournament and then see what happens.”
The SEC Tournament bracket will be announced later tonight.