Daniels Watkins lead women's hoops

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Career-bests from Ashley Daniels and Sarah Watkins paced the University of Arkansas women’s basketball team to a season-opening win over Alcorn State in Hot Springs, Ark., Sunday. Daniels led all scorers with 21 points, an improvement over her previous best of nine set last year as a freshman. Watkins, a true freshman, added 20 points, all in the second half as the Razorbacks captured the 87-78 win over the Lady Braves. "I’m happy to get out of here with a win," said Arkansas head coach Tom Collen. "We were pretty shaky in the first half. We challenged the team in the locker room and came out much better in the second half." Arkansas opened the game with a 10-0 run using a clear height and size advantage but Alcorn State wanted to run and run they did. The Lady Braves went on a 14-1 run of their own taking the 14-13 lead as both teams settled into their offensive sets. The half closed with ASU up 35-31, thanks in part to 21 points off their bench while holding the Razorbacks to just three bench points. Arkansas had committed 11 turnovers at the break and would finish the game with 31, something Collen wants to work on. "We have lots of things to work on," Collen said. "We have to cut down on the turnovers. To win with 31 isn’t something we can do every week. I know we can play better defense as well." The second half started with an Alcorn State basket but Arkansas stepped up the defense throwing in their press early in the half. The Lady Braves clung to the lead until the 13:54 mark when a jumper in the paint from Daniels gave Arkansas the 48-46 lead – a lead they would not surrender. Arkansas’ defensive pressure forced 21 second-half turnovers by Alcorn State and the Razorback lead grew to as many as 26 points with six minutes remaining in the game. Alcorn State continued to run against Arkansas and was deadly with the three, hitting 12-of-17 from beyond the arc to close the gap. Daniels, who had nine points at the half, added 12 in the second half along with Watkins’ 20 points lifting Arkansas. Senior Ashley McCray was also in double-figures with 11 points. Freshman Dominique Robinson had eight points in her debut and led Arkansas with eight boards in the game. "We played well as a team, especially in the second half," Watkins said. "Once I stopped thinking too much I was able to feed off the energy of my teammates. I really had fun out there." "We had more size and we wanted to take advantage of that," Daniels added. "We started really well but got a little sloppy. We didn’t execute as well as we would have liked and we know we have some things to work on." Alcorn State had four players in double figures paced by a 20-point effort from Amanda Davison off the bench. Arkansas hits the road facing Southern Methodist Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Razorbacks host East Tennessee State in the home opener Nov. 22. For more information regarding Razorback women’s basketball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.