FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas women’s basketball team proved that defense wins games holding one of the nation’s top scoring teams well under its average in a 65-37 win over Oral Roberts University in Bud Walton Arena Saturday.
The win moves Arkansas to 8-1 on the year while ORU falls to 6-3.
The Golden Eagles rank 15th in the country averaging 80.4 ppg and are paced by Kevi Luper who averages 26.9 ppg. Both the team and Luper were well below their averages as Arkansas held ORU to a season-low first half total with 16 points and finished with a 28-point margin, a season-best for the Razorbacks.
The Razorbacks forced a season high-tying 24 opponent turnovers while limiting their own with just eight.
"There were two keys to tonight’s game," Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. "The first is that we played great defense. Dominique (Robinson) and Keira (Peak) did a great job on the ball and C’eira (Ricketts) and Calli (Berna) did a great job on Luper.
"The other key was that they force 28 turnovers a game and we had eight," Collen continued. "We took really good care of the ball. Those two things were the difference in the game."
The Razorbacks shot almost 37 percent in the game behind a game-high 15 points from Sarah Watkins. The Germantown, Tenn., native added six rebounds and one block in 28 minutes.
Ricketts dropped in 12 points recording her sixth double-digit game of the year, her fourth in a row, and the 71st of her career.
Senior Lyndsay Harris added nine points while Robinson and Peak each scored eight.
Arkansas’ defense was solid to start the game and the Razorbacks limited ORU’s touches and good shot attempts but the home team’s offense was slow to get started, going 2-for-10.
The Razorbacks hit the first basket of the game from Ricketts but the Golden Eagles went on a 7-0 run to take the lead. Arkansas had two blocked shots and a pair of steals during the ORU run but couldn’t convert on the offensive end.
Watkins hit a short jumper from the left side to stop the ORU run and Arkansas trailed 4-7 at the first media timeout.
The Razorbacks tied the game on a three-pointer from Peak around the 11 minute mark and changed the momentum of the half.
Never rushed or rattled, Arkansas got a big two-point shot from Watkins on a turn-around followed by a steal forced by Ricketts and Ashley Daniels. Ricketts passed ahead to Robinson for the fast-break layup giving Arkansas a 19-14 lead and forcing an ORU timeout.
Arkansas closed the half on an 18-4 run taking a 31-16 lead into the break. Watkins had 13 points at the half leading all scorers. Arkansas forced 14 first half turnovers and grabbed six steals while limiting their own miscues to four for the half.
The second half saw the Razorback extend the lead to as much as 32 points as Collen was able to play all 14 players on the roster. Ten of the 14 players scored in the game and 12 of 14 grabbed rebounds for the Razorbacks.
The Razorbacks break from competition for final exams this week. Arkansas returns to the court Dec. 19, hosting Morgan State at 7 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena.