FAYETTEVILLE – Junior Ashley Daniels had a double-double and sophomore Sarah Watkins scored 17 leading the University of Arkansas to a 71-50 win over Tennessee State in Bud Walton Arena Wednesday.
Daniels scored 12 and had 11 rebounds recording the first double-double of the year for the Razorbacks (5-0) in the post-dominated victory over the Tigers (2-3).
"I was really focused on my rebounding more this game," Daniels said. "I wasn’t as focused on scoring but it just came."
"I was focused on taking easier shots," added Watkins. "I needed to get more high percentage shots and I was able to get into a rhythm tonight."
The first half saw Arkansas come out with a blistering effort holding Tennessee State without a field goal until the 13:14 mark. Arkansas was up 18-2 before a three-pointer got the Tigers on the board with their first basket. Arkansas began the game with an 8-0 run, followed by a 10-0 after a pair of Tennessee State free throws.
Arkansas’ effort didn’t let up as they finished the half shooting 40.5 percent behind 10 points from Watkins, one shy of her season-high. Juniors Daniels and Lyndsay Harris had six points each as Arkansas took a 35-22 lead into the break.
The Razorbacks came out of the half with the same intense effort and never allowed Tennessee State to gain any momentum.
"It wasn’t a battle between the guards and forwards," Watkins said, "it’s just how it worked out tonight. We were able to make a couple shots early and that gave them the confidence to throw us the ball. We are feeling more confident and getting more consistent with
Arkansas led by as many as 30, 69-39, with just over three minutes to play in the game and had several scoring runs, including a 9-0 stretch, in the win.
In addition to Watkins and Daniels, Arkansas got good scoring efforts from junior C’eira Ricketts and freshman Keira Peak with eight points each. Freshman Yashira Delgado posted a career-best seven points and Harris finished with six. Watkins added seven rebounds as the Razorbacks out-boarded the Tigers 46-38 for the game.
"It feels good to be 5-0," said head coach Tom Collen. "The first group out there did a good job staying focused and got out to a good lead. I’m happy with the way we finished the game as well.
"Ashley and Sarah had not gotten out to good starts this year," he continued, "but both players had great efforts tonight."
The Razorbacks begin a four-game road swing Friday and Saturday at the UTEP Thanksgiving Tournament in El Paso, Texas. Arkansas opens with High Point in a 8 p.m. game Friday and plays either at 5:30 p.m. or 8 p.m., Saturday.