FAYETTEVILLE (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) – Senior Sarah Watkins paced the No. 25 University of Arkansas women's basketball team to a 71-57 win over Coppin State in Bud Walton Arena Friday.
Arkansas moves to 12-1 on the year and begins Southeastern Conference play Jan. 3, at Auburn.
Watkins, who scored just four points in the first half, finished with a game-high 22, scoring double figures for the 10th time this season and for the ninth consecutive game. Watkins pulled down a season-best 10 rebounds as well for her first double-double of the season and the seventh of her career.
Junior Dominique Robinson added 11 points and senior Quistelle Williams recorded her third career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"It was hard work out there," Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. "We knew it would be. They (CSU) really pushed us. We were pushed to the end and that's probably good going into SEC play. We want to take this as a lesson but put it behind us. We move on now and can learn from this. Coppin State is a lot like Auburn in that they pressed us and played zone against us so this was a good test."
Arkansas got out to a flat start and Coppin State took advantage of it hitting the boards hard and taking an early lead. The Razorbacks found a spark after the second timeout of the half and stepped up the defensive pressure which led to some scoring opportunities.
The Razorbacks tried to take advantage of some open three-point looks but Arkansas was cold from distance going 1-for-13 in the first 20 minutes. The Razorbacks were 2-for-16 for the game
Arkansas had to look for its points inside and found them in the form of 18 in the paint and 13 from the bench players.
After trailing much of the first half, the Razorbacks tied then took the lead at the 4:31 mark when Calli Berna hit a pair of free throws. Tough defense then forced a turnover on the CSU end of the floor and Arkansas took advantage of a fast break as Keira Peak laid it in for two and a three-point lead.
Arkansas put together a 16-0 run while Coppin State got rattled and went 0-for-14 during the run stretching the Razorback lead to nine at the break, 32-23.
Coppin State came out much more physical in the second half and caught Arkansas off-guard to start the period. Arkansas battled five quick second-half turnovers while CSU let the aggressive defense turn into fouls as two starters had three fouls at the 15:53 media timeout.
CSU was over the limit in fouls with just under eight minutes to play in regulation and Arkansas had been solid for much of the game from the line. That trend stalled a bit early in the second half as the Razorbacks went 2-for-5 in the first 10 minutes but Arkansas finished hitting 10-for-10 from the line. They were 23-for-28 for the game.
A late 8-0 run by Arkansas was fueled by the CSU foul trouble and the Razorbacks pulled away late in the contest. The Razorbacks shot just 39.7 percent from the game on 23-for-58 shooting. Arkansas los the rebounding battle, 44-46, and Arkansas finished with16 assists, including a career-best 12 from Berna in the win.
The Razorbacks begin Southeastern Conference play next week traveling to Auburn, Jan. 3. Arkansas hosts No. 24 Texas A&M in the SEC home opener Jan. 6.
* Arkansas' 12 wins is the third consecutive season the Razorbacks have reached double digits before January and the fifth time in six seasons under Collen.
* Head coach Tom Collen is 322-137 (.706) overall in all games in 15 seasons.
* Collen is 105-67 in six seasons at Arkansas (100th vs. Pepperdine). He is the third coach with 100 wins in program history.
* Collen has taken Arkansas to three postseason appearances (WNIT, 2009, 2011; NCAA Second Round, 2012).
* Arkansas is 42-1 in non-conference games at Bud Walton under Tom Collen (loss to Missouri December 2007).
* Arkansas has won 29 consecutive non-conference games in Bud Walton.
* Sarah Watkins has had 10 games in double figure scoring/nine in a row.
* Quistelle Williams has seven games in double figure scoring this year...Williams had double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds at Tulsa…Posted a career-best 18 points against MVSU…Had second second/third career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds against CSU
* Senior Sarah Watkins (second-team) and sophomore Calli Berna (all-freshman team) were both All-SEC selections in 2012.
* Arkansas is 208-76 in 20 seasons in Bud Walton Arena.
* Sarah Watkins became the 26th player in program history to score at least 1,000 career points. She finished the CSU game with 22 points for 1,139 career points in 110 games. She ranks 22nd in program history.
* Sarah Watkins ranks 26th in career rebounds with 516 in 110 games.
* Sarah Watkins ranks second in career blocked shots with 172.
* Sarah Watkins is the 17th player in program history to reach the 1,000 point, 500 rebound plateau.
* Arkansas has won seven tips (Tulsa, Hawai'i, Pepperdine, Furman, MVSU, NSU, CSU).
* Arkansas is 11-0 when leading at half…1-0 when tied and 0-1 when trailing at half.
* Arkansas has had 10 games with at least three players scoring double figures.
* Arkansas has scored 70+ points nine times this year…80+ five times…90+ twice this year.