Arkansas Picked Eighth, Watkins Named to Second Team

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Arkansas’ women were picked to finish eighth in the SEC in a media vote released today, while Razorbacks senior Sarah Watkins was named to the All-SEC second team.

The Razorbacks lost three starters from last year’s team that finished tied for fourth in the SEC and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Texas A&M. Arkansas finished 24-9 with a 10-6 SEC record, setting program records for its conference finish, total conference victories and consecutive conference victories.

“Preseason predictions are always interesting, but you can’t put too much stock in them,” Arkansas Coach Tom Collen said. “We feel we have the talent to make the NCAA, but you have to prove it on the court. We are excited for the challenge.”

Kentucky was picked to win conference, followed by Georgia, Vanderbilt and Tennessee. Texas A&M, coached by former Arkansas Coach Gary Blair, was picked to finish fifth.

Arkansas will rely heavily on Watkins, who averaged 10 points and 4.4 rebounds a game as a junior. She had 63 blocked shots and is third on Arkansas’ all-time list with 161 career blocks.

Watkins sustained a broken left wrist during the offseason but has recovered fully.

“It’s not a secret that she is a player we are counting on to have a great year,” Collen said. “We all have high expectations for her.”

The Razorbacks have experienced players back in sophomore point guard Calli Berna, power forward Quistelle Williams and small forwards Dominique Robinson and Keira Peak. Robinson started all but one game and averaged 6.6 points, while Berna started 14 games as a true freshman.

Kentucky guard A’dia Mathies was named the preseason player of the year.