MOBILE, Ala. — The University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bears (5-4) entered Saturday’s game against South Alabama ranked 18th in the nation with a 47.2 field goal percentage.
They fell well short of that mark against the Jaguars (7-3), as they connected on just 27.9 percent of their shots – including 11.1 percent in the first quarter as they fell behind 16, a deficit they would be unable to recover from in a 64-43 defeat.
Despite holding the Jags to five second-quarter points, the Sugar Bears were never able to draw any closer than 11 as they scored just 10 points of their own, trailing 25-14 at the half – the Sugar Bears’ lowest halftime total of the season.
"Probably the worst effort we have had all year. I will go on record – I made some coaching mistakes on substitutions and playing, but that won’t happen again," said UCA coach Sandra Rushing. "We’re going to get some things straight, we’re going to get it right."
"There’s no excuse about finals, no excuses from travel – they had plenty of sleep. I’m disappointed – disappointed in just the lack of effort and focus, that’s the bottom line. I don’t know what else to say."
Though the Sugar Bears improved once again with their offensive efficiency in the fourth, shooting 41.7 percent and committing just two turnovers, they were unable to make up any ground on USA as the teams each scored 14 in the final period.
"(South Alabama) did what they wanted to when they wanted to," Rushing said. "They outworked us for every ball, and when they got physical we backed down, and I felt like we were wanting to pout. And that’s not Sugar Bear basketball. I’m at a loss for words. We let our offense dictate our defense, and that’s not us. Just because shots are not falling, we wanted to drop our heads, and you can’t do that. We’ve had a whole week to prepare for USA, so there’s no excuse."
Taylor Baudoin led Central Arkansas with 10 points and nine rebounds in 36 minutes, and freshman Mekaylan Hicks added seven and eight in 20 minutes while making her first collegiate start.
The Sugar Bears continue their road trip with their final two non-conference games at the FIU Holiday Tournament in Miami, taking on Clemson at 1:00pm on Wednesday and either FIU or North Dakota State on Thursday.