PINE BLUFF — Eleven players scored for Central Arkansas, including five in double figures for the first time this season, as the Sugar Bears defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 75-61 at H.O. Clemmons Arena in Pine Bluff on Saturday.
"We showed signs of getting a lot, lot better," said UCA coach Matt Daniel, whose team won its fourth game in a row. "You look at the balance with the scoring but also in the assist column and you can tell we’re sharing the ball and reading the floor. It’s starting to come along."
The Sugar Bears (6-4) built a 20-point lead in the first half and led by double figures for nearly all of the game’s final 30 minutes. UAPB (0-7) chipped away at the UCA lead in the second half and briefly cut their deficit to less than 10 for the first time in 23 minutes on a three-point play by Laquisha Slaton, drawing the Lady Lions to within eight at 67-59 with seven minutes to play.
UCA answered back with an 8-2 spurt and eventually built its lead back to 17, leading 75-58 in the final seconds before a 3-pointer from Christine Lasane at the buzzer set the final.
Nakeia Guiden had 14 points to lead five Sugar Bears in double figures, with Micah Rice adding 13, Megan Herbert 12, Courtney Duever 11 and Sidney Stewart 10. Rice and Duever each came off the bench and had nine in the first half.
"Micah’s changed roles — she came to us and said she’s more comfortable coming off the bench," Daniel said. "She’s figured out she can come in and give us a spark, and she certainly did that tonight. With her doing that and then Courtney getting double figures, if we keep getting lifts like that off the bench then we’ve got a shot. And we had some kids who weren’t going to be in the rotation — Megan Moss, Marci Moffitt and Jelessa Williams — all come in and do some great things."
UCA shot 47 percent for the game, including a 52-percent showing in the first half while limiting UAPB to 32 percent. The Sugar Bears also enjoyed a good night at the free throw line, hitting 21 of 26 (80.8 percent) including 12 of 13 in the second half.
The Sugar Bears outrebounded the Lady Lions 38-27, led by 10 from Herbert for her seventh double-double of the season. Destinee Rogers had four assists and Guiden three steals to lead UCA.
Slaton had 17 points, Jasmine Abrams had 16 and Jenise Gentry had 10 for UAPB, which was playing its first home game of the season.
The Sugar Bears will play their final game of 2010 on Dec. 28 when they return home to take on Chicago State in the Farris Center.