comscore script

Ricketts, Watkins honored, team seventh

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Ricketts, Watkins honored, team seventh

FAYETTEVILLE. — University of Arkansas senior C’eira Ricketts and junior Sarah Watkins were selected to the 2012 Southeastern Conference Preseason All-SEC Second-Team while the Razorbacks were picked seventh overall in a vote by the SEC and national media. Arkansas enters the season with fifth-year head coach Tom Collen and all five returning starters, including Ricketts and Watkins, from last year’s 22-12 team. The Razorbacks started the season with 12 consecutive wins, the second-longest winning streak in program history, defeated two top 15 teams at home, found themselves in the national polls for several weeks and advanced to the quarterfinals of the WNIT last year. “We are very proud of C’eira and Sarah,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “It’s a sign of respect that the SEC media has for our program. There is no doubt these two you ladies must have good seasons for us to attain our goals, but the real key will be our other players stepping up to another level. We have several that are capable and if they do, we can make our move from the predicted seventh into the upper division of the conference. The best thing about predictions is that they create interest for your fans. The bottom line is still where you finish.” Opponents key on this versatile player and yet, Ricketts delivers earning All-SEC Second-Team honors in both the coaches and media poll as a junior last year. Ricketts had 22 games in double-figures, two double-digit rebounding games, became the 25th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points and ranks among the Razorback career leaders in several statistical categories. Ricketts score 20 or more points in nine games including a career-best 29 points at Vanderbilt leading a late charge on the road. Ricketts turned up the heat against ranked opponents as well. She led the team averaging 13.9 ppg and 4.7 rpg in all contests but bettered that to 14.8 ppg and 5.1 rpg against teams in the polls. In addition, Ricketts averaged 15.0 ppg and 4.3 rpg in the postseason. She enters 2011-12 ranked 19th in the career records list for points with 1,120, 23rd with 505 career rebounds, seventh with 335 career assists and third with 227 career steals. A shooter’s worst nightmare, Watkins emerged as a solid post player and premier shot-blocker as a sophomore in 2010-11. Watkins finished her second season of college ball second on the team with 13.5 ppg and 5.6 rpg. She led the team with 58 blocks, bettering her freshman record of 40 from the previous year. Her efforts were rewarded with all-tournament team honors at UTEP and selection to the media’s All-SEC Second-Team. She also earned SEC Player of the Week honors in early January. Watkins elevated her game in the postseason scoring 16.8 ppg and grabbing 6.5 rpg in four contests. She had 28 games in double-figure scoring, six with double-digit rebounds and six double-doubles. Watkins scored 20 or more points for times last year highlighted by a career-best 25 points in a postseason win over Lamar in which she shot 10-for-21 from the floor. Her 14 rebounds against Georgia and against Lamar are also career-highs. As a shot-blocker, Watkins finished the year ranked eighth in the Arkansas career record books, third in the SEC in both all game and league game single season numbers and 64th in the nation as a sophomore. Media were asked to rank the 12 SEC schools in their order of finish and points were compiled on a 12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. The Razorbacks host Newman University in an exhibition contest at Bud Walton Arena Wednesday, Nov. 2, before a three-day, three-game road series at the WBI Tip-Off Classic in Daytona Beach, Fla., to open the season. Season tickets for Razorback basketball games are on sale at the Razorback Ticket Center by calling 1-800-982-HOGS or by going on-line at ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Ticket packages are $90 and include admission to 17 regular season games at Bud Walton Arena.



Sports Category : Basketball (W)