After an extended layoff for final exams, the Central Arkansas Sugar Bears will return to the court Tuesday evening to rekindle one of their oldest rivalries as they host Southern Arkansas at 5:30 p.m. in the Farris Center.
The Sugar Bears (4-3) will be meeting the Lady Muleriders (0-7) for the 65th time, the fourth-longest running series in program history behind Arkansas Tech (80 meetings), Henderson State (71) and Arkansas-Monticello (70). UCA holds a 50-14 series lead against its old Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference and Gulf South Conference rivals, having won the last 12 and 47 of the last 52 going back to 1981.
The schools have met just once since the Sugar Bears made the move to Division I in 2006, an 84-63 UCA victory in the Sugar Bears' first Division I season.
The Lady Muleriders have yet to record a win this season, narrowly missing against Henderson State on Dec. 8 in a 62-59 loss – their closest game of the season. They have been outscored by an average of 18 points per game this season, putting up 56.3 per game to 74.3 for their opposition. Dating back to last season – in which they went 2-24 – the Lady Muleriders have lost their last 16 games.
They are led in scoring by 5-foot-7 sophomore guard Katherine McBride, who is averaging 14.6 per game with a high of 20 at Southwest Baptist on Nov. 20. McBride has led SAU in scoring in five of their seven games this season, with Stevi Cooper (8.3 ppg) leading in the other two. McBride is also the team's second-leading rebounder at 5.6 per game, trailing 6-3 freshman center Tori Nichols' average of 6.9.
The Sugar Bears, looking to get back on track after dropping three of their last four – will be playing their first of three games this week, with trips to ULM and Southern Miss Thursday and Saturday.
UCA will likely be without senior guard Micah Rice, who suffered a knee injury during the Arkansas State game. The Sugar Bears will regain the services of transfer guard Kelly Hays – eligible for her first game as a Sugar Bear after transferring from Harding University mid-season last year. Hays was an all-state selection in 2010 and 2011 at Conway Christian.