Just when the University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears needed senior leadership Saturday, Courtney Duever came to the rescue.
Just when the Sugar Bears needed anybody, Duever showed up bigtime.
Duever, a 6-foot-1 post from Austin, Texas, scored 36 points along with 12 rebounds and three steals as the Sugar Bears (17-8, 11-3) maintained a hold on first place in the Southland Conference standings with a 62-54 victory over Oral Roberts at the Farris Center.
The 36 was both Duever's career high and the most scored by a Southland Conference player this season.
With the score tied at 48 with 6:06 left Duever scored 13 of the Sugar Bears’ remaining 14 points including 11 in a row.
“She stepped like a senior,” said UCA coach Sandra Rushing. “She had to.”
Duever began her tear with a nice lane move that she turned into a three-point play. She won a scrap during a scramble under the basket for another three-point play to put UCA up, 55-50 with 3:05 left. She got behind the ORU defense for an inside basket.
After the Golden Eagles crept within 57-53 with 1:30 left, Duever stole the ball on a lane drive and went three-quarters of the court for a layup that she turned into another three-point play that proved to be the dagger as UCA took a 60-53 lead with 1:05 left.
Earlier in the season in Tulsa, ORU had handed the Sugar Bears their first conference defeat, 70-60
“They are tall and physical,” said Rushing. “It was one of the best things that happened to us. It helped our players and it helped me. It showed us how physical we need to play.”
The Sugar Bears outrebounded ORU, 37-34 and had an 11-5 advantage in second-chance points.
Brianna Mullins was the only other Sugar Bear n double figures with 11.
Oral Roberts surged past the Bears in the second half on the way to a 63-50 victory.
Anthony Miles had 16 points for UCA. DeShone McClure added 11.
Korey Billbury had 24 points and 13 rebounds for ORU.
The Golden Eagles (14-13, 8-6) led, 28-25, at the half. The UCA men, who lost their fourth straight, fell to 6-19, 3-11.
Centre was too much for Hendrix basketball teams in games Friday at Danville, Ky.
First-place Centre defeated the men, 71-55.
The Warriors fell to 10-14 overall and 4-9 in the league, tied for sixth place with Millsaps. The Colonels improved to 19-4 and 12-1 and will host the SAA Tournament next weekend as the top seed.
Hendrix takes on fifth-place Sewanee on the road on Sunday in the regular season finale and Millsaps will host second-place Oglethorpe.
Junior forward Luke Vance led the Warriors with 15 points to go with seven rebounds. Senior forward Colton Primm had 13 points and 11 boards for his seventh double-double of the year.
Centre easily won the women’s game, 71-38.
The Warriors fell to 11-13 on the year and 5-8 in the Southern Athletic Association, while the Colonels improved to 16-8 and 10-3. With one game left in the regular season, Hendrix sits in a tie for fifth place with Berry. The Warriors play at last-place Sewanee on Sunday, while the Vikings take on fourth-place Birmingham-Southern on the road.
Centre secured the second seed for next weekend’s SAA Tournament to be played in Memphis, Tenn.
Sophomore guard Estrella Flores led Hendrix with a season-high nine points and three steals.