By DAVID MCCOLLUM

LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER

University of Central Arkansas basketball coach Corliss Williamson, in seeking a way to break his team’s 0-4 start in Southland Conference play, hinted the Bears could start out as spectators rather than listeners.

In the Southland Conference format this season, the men’s game is the second part of a doubleheader to the women’s game. The Sugar Bears have started the opposite direction at 4-0.

"Usually, we’re talking to our guys in the locker room the last five minutes of the women’s game. Maybe we should go out and watch (the Sugar Bears)," Williamson said at Monday’s weekly Bearbacker luncheon. "To watch their intensity and the way they play maybe will help us come out better. In both our games last week, the problem was getting off to a bad start."

The Bears (5-9, 0-4) will try to right themselves on a critical (and long) road trip this week to Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Texas, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

"We think we match up well with Sam Houston," Williamson said. "I think we have an opportunity to rally around each other on the road. If we come out with a split, it would be great but to win both, and I think we have a chance, would be excellent."

Meanwhile, Sugar Bear coach Sandra Rushing watched her team go to 10-4 and another 4-0 start in the SLC race and post Megan Herbert gain another milestone.

Herbert scored her 2,000th point for her career in the 60-44 victory over Northwestern State. She and Baylor’s Brittney Griner are the only active NCAA Division I women’s players with more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

Herbert is now tied with Teri Conder for fourth place on the Sugar Bears’ all-time scoring list. The three ahead of her are: 1. Checola Seals-Horton; 2. Caronica Randall; and 3. Carone Harris.

Rushing said Herbert, who is 5-foot-10, plays bigger.

"She outworks her opponent and she reads the ball better than anybody I’ve ever coached," Rushing said. "She knows where the ball is going and she goes and gets it. She has great hands.

"She’s a sweet young lady but she is hard-nosed on the floor. When she gets knocked down, she’s getting up."

Rushing said, although soft-spoken, Herbert is a leader on the court.

"She tells me what to do," Rushing said. "Saturday, I had her playing outside and she comes to me with that sweet little voice and says, ‘Can I please go back inside?’ I said by all means."

The Sugar Bears also take on Sam Houston State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on the Thursday-Saturday road swing.

Sam Houston lost for the first time in league play Saturday against McNeese State.

"Sam Houston is a very solid team," Rushing said. "We are outsized and outmatched. We are playing better basketball but we are not playing our best basketball."

NEXT BEARBACKER LUNCHEON: Because of the Martin Luther King Day holiday next week, there will no Bearbackers luncheon on Monday, Jan. 21. The luncheons will resume the next week.

(David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or david.mccollum@thecabin.net)