CONWAY, Ark — The Central Arkansas women’s basketball team played in the Farris Center for the first time in 2021 as it hosted Southland Conference foe Sam Houston. The Sugar Bears (2-8, 0-2) fell to the Bearkats (5-4, 1-2), 67-60, on Saturday.
UCA jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after Savanna Walker hit two free throws and Tori Lasker added a fast-break layup. The Bearkats scored the next six points on two 3-poiners and took a 6-4 lead with 5:29 left in the first quarter. The Sugar Bears regained the lead as Briana Trigg converted an and-1 play with just over 4:00 left in the stanza. Sam Houston scored the game’s next five points, but Central Arkansas was unfazed and finished the quarter on a 4-0 run, to make the score 11-11.
UCA continued its run from the end of the first quarter with a 4-0 run to start the second. After the game was tied at 20-20 with 3:27 left in the half, the Bearkats made three free throws to take a slim 23-20 advantage. After she drove into the lane, Lasker found Hannah Langhi with a perfectly placed no-look pass. Langhi made the wide-open jumper to give UCA a slight 24-23 lead with 1:53 left in the second quarter. Lasker drained a jumper with 32 seconds left before the break and put the Sugar Bears back on top, 26-25. Faith Cook hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer sounded for the half and gave Sam Houston a 28-26 lead.
UCA and Sam Houston traded baskets to start the third. After the score was tied 38-38 with 5:29 left in the third, the Sugar Bears went on an 8-2 run and held a 46-40 lead with 3:19 left in the period. Sam Houston went on an 8-2 run to tie the score at 48-48, with just under a minute left in the quarter. The Bearkats added a free throw and went to the fourth with a 49-48 lead.
Sam Houston started the final quarter on a 12-4 run and extended its lead to 61-52, with 5:23. The Sugar Bears managed to pull within five, 63-58, with 2:21 left in regulation. The Sam Houston lead was too much for UCA to overcome and the Bearkats won by a final score of 67-60.
Walker paced the Sugar Bears with a team-high 16 points, which is a new season high. Lasker finished with a career-high 13 points and added a game-high five assists. Langhi added a season-high 10 points, led UCA with seven rebounds, and produced a game-high two blocks.
Faith Cook led Sam Houston with a game-high 23 points and had a game-high four steals. Amber Leggett added 20 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for the Bearkats.
The Sugar Bears remain at home for another SLC matchup with Stephen F. Austin. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
From the Coach – Head Coach Sandra Rushing
“I thought we fought hard. I thought we made some crucial mistakes mentally down the stretch. We needed to hit a 3-pointer. I felt we could have had an inside presence. The way we played today is the way we’re going to continue to play. We’re going to play fast and have an opportunity to win games moving forward. I liked our fight, but I’m tired of average being just good enough. When you have five seniors, you look for the seniors to step up. I’m not throwing in the towel. We just have to listen. We looked good for about 28 minutes. We started to get out of how we wanted to defend them. We have to learn to stay focused for 40 minutes.”