COLUMBIA, Mo. — Purdue turned in a dominating performance Friday in ending the season for the University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears in the first round of the NCAA tournament at the Hearnes Center.
UCA, the regular-season and Southland Conference tournament champion and making its second straight trip to the NCAA tournament, ended its season 29-4.
The Boilermakers asserted themselves from the beginning and were never seriously challenged in a 25-15, 25-17, 25-13 victory.
Next up for the Boilermakers (21-11) will be a second-round matchup with host Missouri on Saturday night. The Tigers (35-0), the nation’s lone unbeaten team, handled IUPUI in straight sets in Friday’s nightcap.
Sam Epenesa and Annie Drews led a balanced attack with eight and seven kills, respectively, as the Boilermakers hit .312 as a team. The Sugar Bears (29-4) had 26 attack errors, hitting a season-low .010 on the night. They hit .000 in the first two sets. That figure was easily the lowest by a Purdue opponent in a three-game match this year.
“I think our team’s size played a big role,” Purdue coach Dave Shondell said. “We got off to a good start and made some nice blocks and deflections. I think the difference in this game was our serving and our defense. That has been our team staple all year.”
Evie Singleton had seven kills for UCA. Sherbee Berringer added 11 digs and Marissa Collins 23 assists.