HUNTSVILLE, Texas — After falling behind by as many 11 in the first half at Sam Houston State on Saturday, the University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears rallied with a 21-7 run to begin the second half but could not hang on as they fell, 66-54, at Johnson Coliseum on Saturday. 

After taking a 42-39 lead 8:27 left, the Sugar Bears (15-10, 7-5 Southland) stalled and scored just two points over the next six minutes – including a scoreless drought of 4:21. The Bearkats (15-11, 9-3) took advantage with a 16-2 run to put the game away. 

The Sugar Bears committed a season-high 28 turnovers, with 15 in the first half and seven in the game’s final six minutes. Only nine of the 28 UCA turnovers were from Bearkat steals.

UCA’s problems were compounded when Sam Houston’s Britney Martin hit one of her five 3-pointers with 6:11 left to give the Bearkats a two-point lead, and just after the basket Megan Herbert was hit with her fourth foul when the Sam Houston player she was attempting to block out fell to the floor. 

SHSU seized the opportunity — instantly converting it into another score — and went on to reel off the game’s next seven points afterward, with three baskets coming inside as Herbert and Courtney Duever were each saddled with four fouls. 

A 3-pointer from Micah Rice with 1:45 cut the Sugar Bears’ deficit to eight, but the Bearkats closed it out by outscoring UCA 9-5 to deal the Sugar Bears their worst conference defeat of the season.

The loss was the second straight for the Sugar Bears and first of the season to a team from the Southland’s West Division after starting 3-0. The Bearkats, who lead the West and are third overall in the league, improve to 8-2 at home and even up the series with the Sugar Bears at three wins each. 

Herbert led the Sugar Bears with 23 points and 14 rebounds, recording her 17th double-double and ninth 20-point game of the season. She also had a career-high four steals. She was 8-of-14 (57.1 percent) from the field and 7-of-10 from the free throw line.

Martin, who is the league’s second-leading scorer behind Herbert, had 23 for the Bearkats. Sequeena Thomas added 17 points and 12 rebounds for her 10th double-double, also second in the league behind Herbert. 

Micah Rice added 17 points for the Sugar Bears, including 12 in the second half. 

The Sugar Bears will travel to Thibodaux, La., to take on Nicholls Wednesday, then return home for their final two home games of the season beginning with Southeastern Louisiana next Saturday.