SAN ANTONIO — Early in their first-ever Southland Conference game in the McDermott Center, Incarnate Word enjoyed a 12-6 lead over Central Arkansas.
After scoring their next 12 points, the Cardinals were down 23.
Following a sluggish start, the Sugar Bears took control of the game by outscoring UIW 41-12 over a 20-minute span, eventually building the lead to 27 en route to a 60-40 victory in their first-ever meeting with the Cardinals.
"I'm happy we finished the game strong," said UCA head coach Sandra Rushing. "It's always good to get a win, especially on the road, but we've got to learn to come out of the gates quicker on the road with more effort and passion. We've got to come out and do a better job of controlling the ballgame."
The Sugar Bears (9-6, 3-1 Southland) shot 51 percent for the game while limiting the Cardinals (7-8, 1-2) to just 26.7. UCA also held a decided advantage on the boards, out-rebounding the Cards 37-25.
"We needed to do a better job with our shooting," Rushing said. "We talked before about having better shot selection, and we did that tonight."
Senior center Courtney Duever had 14 points, nine rebounds and a career-high five blocks in 25 minutes of action, and freshman guard Brianna Mullins added 14 points – her second-highest total of the season and most since scoring 17 against ULM on Nov. 23.
Joslinn Douglas led UIW with 16 points, while the Sugar Bears held Rose Whitehead to 10 points – 8.5 points below her average in Southland games.
The Sugar Bears will travel to Abilene Christian on Saturday to complete their road swing of the pair of league newcomers before returning home next week to host Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin.