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Watkins Honored by the SEC

University of Arkansas senior Sarah Watkins earned Southeastern Conference Co-Sixth Player of the Year honors the league office announced today.
             University of Arkansas senior Sarah Watkins earned Southeastern Conference Co-Sixth Player of the Year honors the  league office announced today.

            Watkins, a Germantown, Tenn., native, is the first player off the bench for the Razorbacks and leads the team in scoring while ranking among the conference leaders this season.

            “We are very proud of Sarah and the accomplishments over her entire career at Arkansas,” Arkansas head coach Tom Collen said. “She is one of the best players in our conference as well as one of the best players to ever play at Arkansas.”

            Watkins had been a regular starter for two seasons as a sophomore and junior and began her senior season in that same role for the Razorbacks.  Four games into the season, however, the 6-3 post player found herself with limited minutes because of some early game foul trouble.

            It was at that point Collen decided to move his leading scorer to the bench.

            “We just needed to give Sarah a chance to watch the first couple of minutes,” he said.  “She needed to see the flow of the game and see how things were being called.  It really helped her stay out of foul trouble for the rest of the game.”

            As the team’s leading scorer, Watkins averaged 12.9 points per game, good for 12th in the SEC. Watkins had a number of strong performances throughout the year. She scored a career high 28 points at Ole Miss on 11 made field goals. She scored more than 20 points five times this season – scoring 22 points versus Coppin State and Ole Miss, and 25 points at Hawai’i (in her first game off the bench) and against Kentucky. She had 19 games with double figure scoring. She is reliable from the free throw line, making 94-of-120 attempts for a 78.3 percentage, good for fifth in the conference. She averaged 1.3 blocks per game, with 39 on the year, the seventh best mark in the SEC. Her five blocks against Kentucky was tied for the third highest single game performance in the conference this season.

            Watkins eclipsed the 1,000-point scoring plateau this season becoming the 26th player in Razorback women’s basketball history to do so.  She enters the SEC Tournament with 1,339 career points ranking 14th overall.  She also reached the 500 rebound milestone becoming the 17th player to score 1,000+ points and grab 500+ rebounds and she has 584 career boards this week.

            Watkins is also a good shot blocker ranking second all-time in program history with 200 career blocked shots for the Razorbacks.

            Watkins earned Co-Sixth Player of the Year honors with Missouri’s Morgan Eye, one of the nation’s leading three-point shooters this season.  She is the second Razorback to earn the award joining Charity Ford who was selected in 2009.

            Watkins and the Razorbacks earned the eighth-seed and faces ninth-seed Florida in the first round of the SEC in Duluth, Ga., Thursday.  Arkansas finished the SEC regular season with an 18-11 mark after a big 93-52 win over Ole Miss in the SEC finale in Bud Walton Arena Sunday.  The Gators dropped their last game at South Carolina, 56-67.

            The Razorbacks and Gators meet at 11 a.m. central/noon Eastern in a game that is scheduled to be aired on Sports South/Fox Sports Southwest/Sun Sports networks.

            Arkansas and the Gators played each other Thursday and the Razorbacks fell, 58-69, after battling back from an early game deficit.  Watkins had 16 points off the bench and Erin Gatling added 11 in the loss as Arkansas shot 31 percent in that meeting.

            For more information regarding Razorback women’s basketball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.

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