With mixed results on the first leg of the road trip, University of Central Arkansas basketball teams continued their westward swing against the newcomers to the Southland Conference.
The Sugar Bears and Bears play Saturday afternoon at Abilene Christian.
Thursday night, the Sugar Bears overpowered Incarnate Word while the Bears fell to 1-3 in the league with a loss to the Cardinals.
The ACU women (12-6, 3-0) have been one of the surprises in the early portion of league play. The Wildcats are 6-11, 0-3.
A 41-12 run over a 20-minute span in the first and second half propelled UCA to a 60-40 victory.
The UCA women (9-6, 3-1) led by as much as 27 in coasting in in the first-ever matchup with the Lady Cardinals (7-8, 1-2).
“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.”
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.
The Bears (4-11, 1-3) were the best team from the outside, making 9 of 17 from 3-point range (52.9 percent) but the Cardinals scored 48 points in the paint and had five players in double figures to win their initial home SLC game. UIW (14-2, 2-1) , the top 3-point shooting team in the league, was just 2 of 14 from beyond the arc, including 1 of 8 in the first half.
“We just couldn’t defend them in the half-court situation,” said UCA head coach Clarence Finley. “We kept it close but we just couldn’t get over the hump. We’d cut it back down but then we just couldn’t make a play when we needed to.”
Senior LaQuentin Miles, who led four UCA players in double figures with 21 points, scored 13 first-half points but the Bears let the Cardinals put together an 11-2 run in the closing minutes of the half and trailed 37-32 at the break. UCA had 11 turnovers in the first half and finished with 18.
UCA was down 12 points with 12:30 left but fought back to a 63-61 deficit on DuShaun Rice’s three-pointers at the 8:15 mark and was within three points with 4:09 to play. But the Cardinals closed out the game by scoring the final 11 points, hitting seven of eight from the free-throw line in the last 17 seconds.
UCA had three other players in double figures behind Miles, with Tirrell Brown and DeShone McClure scoring 13 each and Audrey Ball finishing with a career-high 12. Brown had his third double-double of the season in just seven games with 12 rebounds.
(UCA Sports Information contributed to this report)