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Ibeh’s monster game propels Sugar Bears past Colonels

Lucy Ibeh produced her second double-double of the season with 31 points and 16 rebounds.

CONWAY, Arkansas — The Central Arkansas women’s basketball team bounced back with its first Southland Conference win of the season on Saturday, against Nicholls in the Farris Center. Lucy Ibeh produced her second double-double of the season with 31 points and 16 rebounds. The Sugar Bears (3-9, 1-3 Southland) defeated the Colonels (4-8, 3-2 Southland), 56-42.

The UCA defense was stellar to start the game. The Sugar Bears held the Colonels scoreless until the 4:35 mark, when Chelsea Cain hit two free throws for Nicholls. UCA held Nicholls without a field goal until 2:51 left in the first when the Colonels hit a three. The Sugar Bear defense held the Colonels to just seven points, which is the second-fewest points allowed on the season. The Sugar Bears held the Colonels to just 16.7 percent from the field. The UCA attack put up 17 points in the first quarter and took a 17-7 lead into the second.

The UCA intensity was consistent in the second quarter as the Sugar Bears held the Colonels to just 18.2 percent from the field and 17.4 percent from the field in the half. Ibeh was stellar on both ends of the court as she recorded five steals and six defensive rebounds, to go along with her 18 points and six offensive rebounds.

The Colonels picked up the intensity in the third as they held the Sugar Bears without a field goal until just over a minute left in the third quarter and held UCA to just 18.2 percent from the field. Nicholls managed to cut the UCA lead to 41-30 after three quarters of play.

The Sugar Bears were resilient and made sure they did not surrender the strong start. Romola Dominguez made sure UCA hit a field goal early in the fourth as she drained a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with 9:08 left in regulation. As a team, the Sugar Bears shot 55.6 percent from the field, a vast improvement from the third.

Ibeh produced her second double-double of her career with a career-high 31 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. She set a new career high with seven steals, which was also a game-high. Dominguez was lights out from behind the arc as she went 2-for-2 from 3-point range and finished with six points. Tori Lasker finished with a game-high four assists and chipped in with five points. Briana Trigg, Ayanna Trigg, and Jayla Cody each secured five rebounds.

As a team, UCA outrebounded Nicholls, 39-25. The defense forced 20 turnovers and had 11 steals. Central Arkansas made the most of the forced turnovers and scored 17 points off of those turnovers. The Sugar Bears capitalized down low as they scored 30 points in the paint, opposed to the Colonels’ 14. UCA held a 9-3 advantage in fast-break points. UCA’s defense held Nicholls to 22.2 percent from behind the arc.

Chelsea Cain led Nicholls with 20 points and was the lone Colonel in double-digit points. She also led the team with nine rebounds.

The Sugar Bears take to the road for a Southland Conference matchup in Abilene, Texas, with Abilene Christian on Saturday, Jan. 23. The tip is scheduled for a 1 p.m. tip.

From the Coach – Head Coach Sandra Rushing

“That effort was tremendous! I’m very proud! I felt like this was a must win. We went with our defensive group and think it really helped us. The bus is moving and it’s time for us to put things together. We still have a lot of work to do. I thought we played hard. The energy brought more energy. There’s nothing better than winning! The kids seeing the preparation paid off today. We needed this. I know I’m feeling good and I know the team is too.”