University of Central Arkansas men's basketball coach Russ Pennell suggested a fusing the Bears and Sugar Beas at Monday's weekly Bearbackers luncheon.

"Sandra (Sugar Bear coach Rushing ought to put our teams together," Pennell said. "I'd like to have her defense and I think she'd like to have our offense."

Both the Bears and Sugar Bears were swept by Southeastern Louiisiana lon Saturday. The iugar Bears (15-7, 8-3) are one of the best defense in the country. The Bears (12-12, 6-5) are one of the top offensive teams. The UCA women are tied for third in the Southland Conference. The men are in a three-way tie for sixth.

"It was rough," Rushing said after the 78-70 loss to Southeastern, a team that they had defeated earlier in the season. "I don't think we have a sense of energy and effort and when we needed to respond."

The Sugar Bears host Houston Baptist on Wednesday night.

She said the downslide has related to missed free throws, not blocking out, turnovers and other fundamental issues.

Against Southeastern, three of UCA's starters (Kamry Orr, Taylor Baudoin and Taylor Sells were a combined two of 23 from the field for a combined 13 points.

"We had a whole week to prepare for Southeastern and we didn't get it done," Rushing said. "When things don't go right, we don't seem to have the fight or the fire that is Sugar Bear basketball. We lost three games we shouldn't have lost and in each of them, it was the lack of effort.

"We're still trying to find ourselves in February and it shouldn't be. But we will get that corrected."


UCA, in a fight for a conference tourney berth in Katy, have seven games left and five of the team they are either tied with or just below in the standings.

"The league is really good in men," Pennell said. "Houston Baptist (the Bears' opponent in Houston on Wednesday) is a dangerous team even with two conference wins and five ovrerall. It's not the name on the jersey or what's on the record. It's about us. If we don't make it to Katy (for the conference tournament), I would be disappointed, but there is no guarantee.

"We lead the Southland Conference in almost every offensive category and we then we can't guard a folding chair. We have to value a stop on defense as much as making a shot. We have played good defense at time but we are not consistent."

He said the Bears work on defense in practice.

"You watch practice today and we will guard people," he said. "But I am in charge. I can run them if they don't. But I tell them that if I make you run that motivates you but how is getting to the NCAA tournament is not a motivator if you're not guarding or missing an assignment during a game?"