Just as they had done 16 other times this season, the UCA Sugar Bears held an opponent under 50 points after beating the Northwestern State University Lady Demons, 59-39, Saturday at the Farris Center on Senior Day.
Including Saturday’s win, the Sugar Bears (21-8, 14-4 Southland Conference) have held seven opponents under 40 points.
UCA didn’t shoot well, shooting 40 percent, but the defense held strong throughout the game.
It held the Lady Demons (7-22, 2-16 SLC) to 36.4 percent for the game.
Apart from holding the NSU offense to poor shooting, the Sugar Bears forced 24 turnovers, while only turning the ball over 13 times.
Rushing was happy with the defensive performance.
“We had some really good spurts, defensively,” Rushing said. “I thought [the Lady Demons] had a couple good looks late that I was unhappy with. You can’t have that. At the end of the game, you have to stay with the game plan unless something is adjusted, but I’m really happy with win. I’m happy with the way we are sending our seniors out and the job they have done here.”
UCA also had a distinct advantage at the free-throw line, making 17 of 24 shots, while the Lady Demons only shot nine, making all attempts. This was because the Sugar Bears were able to hold a 25-10 advantage in fouls.
UCA fouled NSU just four times in the second half.
“I don’t think we did a very good job with fouling in the first half, but we did a lot better job in the second half,” Rushing said.
Sophomore Gabby Bell was the lone Lady Demon in double figures with 10 points.
Sugar Bear senior Taylor Baudoin led all scorers with 17 points, while junior Kamry Orr followed with 15.
It was Baudoin’s final game in the Farris Center, along with fellow seniors Kierra Jordan and Angel Williams.
This is a group that is back-to-back Southland Conference Tournament champions, along with back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.
Rushing said Baudoin, Jordan and Williams will be missed, but she is proud of their accomplishments both on the floor and in the classroom.
“Those three seniors have won a lot of basketball games,” she said. “They are going to be missed, and I don’t know how we will be able to replace them. I’m really proud of what they accomplished here. They’re getting a degree, they have two championships and they are going for a third.”
With the regular season complete, the Sugar Bears will now focus on the Southland Conference Tournament, which starts March 7 in Katy, Texas. They will play Friday night after a single bye awarded the third-place team.