Megan Herbert and Micah Rice combined to outscore ther University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the first half, then Courtney Duever nearly matched the Lady Lions single-handedly in the second as the Unnivrsity of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears pulled away for a 61-38 win at the Farris Center on Friday night.
Following a sluggish first half in which UCA (9-3) led 28-19 with Herbert and Rice each putting up 10, the Sugar Bear bench took over in the second half — scoring 24 of the team’s 33 points, led by Duever’s 15, and held the Lady Lions (0-11) to 19 points on just 18.2 percent shooting as UCA kept its opponent under 40 points for the third time this season.
"The bench saved us tonight," UCA head coach Matt Daniel said. "Every one of them on our bench made a difference. The group we subbed in had good energy and was able to extend the lead out and that’s what saved us. That was the most physical team we’ve played all year, and I think we got a little frustrated. I thought the game was called a little loose, and cooler heads didn’t prevail — except on the scoreboard."
The Sugar Bears held UAPB to 24 percent shooting (6 of 25) in the first half, but put the clamps on even tighter in the second as the Lady Lions were just 4-for-22 from the field to finish the game at 21.3 percent, including an 0-for-6 performance from 3-point range.
"Any time you hold a team to 18 percent for a half and 21 percent for the game, that’s pretty good," said Daniel, whose team moves to 7-0 at home this season. "(UAPB) is pretty good. They’re 0-11 because of their schedule, but that’s not indicative of what kind of team that is. They’re going to be good in their league, and they’re going to win some games."
Rice finished with a season-high 15 points to tie Duever for the team lead, and Herbert finished with 10. Duever also added seven rebounds, three steals and an assist in 20 minutes off the bench — all but four of the rebounds coming in her 12 second-half minutes. Destinee Rogers added a season-high six assists.
The Sugar Bears held a 24-14 advantage in scoring in the paint, and held an 18-0 advantage in fast-break points.
The win marked the third straight for the Sugar Bears over the Lady Lions, and seventh of the last eight in the series.
UCA will finish out the nonconference portion of its schedule Monday when the Sugar Bears take on Philander Smith in the Farris Center at 7 p.m.