UCA SPORTS INFORMATION
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — After struggling through its lowest-scoring first half of the season with 22 points, the University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears started the second half with a 10-0 run and never looked back in defeating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 55-40, Saturday at the American Bank Center.
Down 23-22 at the half, the Sugar Bears (12-5, 5-1 Southland) never surrendered the lead after the second-half surge, holding the Islanders (1-16, 0-6) to 17 second-half points on 5-for-25 shooting.
“I thought we came out sluggish in the first half, but I’m really proud of the way we came out and responded in the second half,” said UCA coach Sandra Rushing. “We were getting pushed around inside a little bit, and we expect that, but I thought Megan (Herbert) and Courtney (Duever) handled it well. I thought Desiree’ (Rogers) played a good second half, and I’ve said it all along that’s something we’ve got to have to win some ballgames.”
In the first 7:19 of the second half the Sugar Bears outscored the Islanders 18-4 to take a 40-27 lead, then never allowed A&M-Corpus Christi to draw any closer than seven..
Herbert had her 74th career double-double and reached double-figures scoring for the 100th time in her career with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Duever had her sixth double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds. The duo combined to go 10-for-12 at the free-throw line as the Sugar Bears finished 16-for-18 (88.9 percent).
“We didn’t shoot the ball well from outside (1-for-7 from 3-point range), but I’m very happy with our free throws,” Rushing said.“We’ve been averaging in the low 60s percentage-wise, so to shoot that well on the road to win a ballgame is encouraging. That was probably the difference in the game.”
The Sugar Bears out rebounded the Islanders 41-34 and forced 19 turnovers while committing 12. Tracey Parsons led the Sugar Bears with five assists and four steals in 26 minutes, and Desiree’ Rogers added eight points, three rebounds and two steals. Brandi Huff led the Islanders with 10 points and eight rebounds.
The Sugar Bears play their next four games at the Farris Center, starting with two-time defending Southland Conference tournament champion McNeese State on Thursday and Lamar, which is 5-1 in league play, on Saturday.