SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – University of Arkansas junior C’eira Ricketts scored 20 points and had 11 rebounds leading the Razorbacks to a 65-54 win at Utah Saturday.
Ricketts led all scorers in the Arkansas (9-0) win helping the Razorbacks remain undefeated in the 2010-11 season. Utah (3-5) lost its second in a row at home.
"Our team really maintained its composure," Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. "They got down 11-2 and I didn’t burn a timeout. I let them play and we got to the 16-minute timeout and regrouped. We tied the game back up. I just think this team is starting to mature a little bit. Obviously we made our free throws down the stretch and that was big."
Ricketts’ numbers are one shy of her season-best for points and two off her career-best. Her 11 boards is a season-high and is two off her career best.
"Ricketts is the player who we want to put the ball in her hands right now," Collen said. "She’s gained a lot of confidence and she knows she has to make plays and create plays and she did that tonight."
Sophomore Sarah Watkins added 18 points and five boards while junior Lyndsay Harris finished with 11 points for Arkansas.
Utah came out of the gate and controlled the pace and the scoring going up 11-2 as the Razorbacks struggled from the floor early in the game.
But Arkansas rallied. The Razorbacks tied the game at 11 and forced a Utah timeout at the 10:54 mark of the first half. Arkansas went on a 17-seven run to close the half and take a 10-point, 28-18, lead into the break. Watkins led Arkansas with eight points and Ricketts had six rebounds at the mid-point.
Arkansas’ eight-point lead swelled to 11 but Utah was determined to get back into the game. Utah fought back threatening to take the lead closing the gap to one, 46-45, but a three-pointer by Watkins sparked the Arkansas offense as they stretched the lead with an 11-3 run.
The Razorbacks would eventually lead by as many as 11 twice before winning by that margin.
Arkansas shot 39.6 percent for the game and was most importantly 19-for-25 from the line. Arkansas was 17-for-21 from the charity stripe in the second half while limiting Utah’s chances for free shots.
The Razorbacks break from competition next week to focus on finals. Arkansas returns to the court Dec. 16, hosting Oral Roberts in the first of two home games before the holidays.
"We have to get back into the gym and work on our fundamentals," Collen said. "I’ve got some players who haven’t played as much lately and I need to get them back into the gym and work on their shots. We’ve crammed in so many games in this preseason non-conference schedule that we just have had time to work on the little things that will make us a better basketball team."