HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Central Arkansas could not overcome its worst shooting night of the conference season against Sam Houston State on Thursday.

The UCA women shot  just 30.8 percent from the field, 28.6 percent from 3-point range and 50 percent from the free-throw line, as the Sugar Bears fell 64-48 to the Bearkats at Johnson Coliseum for their first Southland Conference loss of the year.


Entering the game shooting better than 48 percent in conference play, the Sugar Bears (11-5, 4-1 Southland) struggled in the first half against the Bearkats (8-9, 4-1) as they shot just 28.1 percent from the field while Sam Houston State shot 48.1 percent in building a 35-23 halftime lead.


The second half started off better for the Sugar Bears as they were able to trim their deficit to as few as five points on three occasions, but the Bearkats closed with a 15-4 run over the final 7:25 to deal UCA its third straight loss in Johnson Coliseum.


Sam Houston State shot 43.4 percent for the game, well above its season average of 36.9 percent, and the Bearkats were 41.7 percent from 3-point range. They hit 81.3 percent of their free throws, making 13 of 16, while the Sugar Bears were just 4-for-8. Megan Herbert, the Southland's career free throws made record holder, was held without a free-throw attempt.


The Bearkats had a 44-36 rebounding advantage, with league leader Sequeena Thomas (12.4 per game) pulling down 14. Herbert, the league's second leading rebounder at 10.9 per game, matched Thomas' total of 14 to lead UCA. She also scored 14 points to notch her 73rd career double-double, putting her alone in seventh place in Division I history, and moved into sixth in Southland Conference history in career points and fourth in rebounds.


Courtney Duever had 14 points and five rebounds for the Sugar Bears, while Desiree' Rogers added eight points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals off the bench.


Britni Martin, a first-team preseason all-Southland selection, led all scorers with 18 points including an 8-for-8 showing at the free throw line. Chanice Smith had 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks for the Bearkats.


The Sugar Bears will look to bounce back on Saturday as they travel to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for a noon tipoff. They will then return home for their next four, hosting McNeese State and Lamar next week before facing Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls State for the second segment of the conference season.