While the University of Central Arkansas Sugar Bear shooters fired blanks on the same night, Chicago State found the target at the perfect time.
Solid shooting from from the field and afar, with a few trick shots sprinkled in, led Chicago State to an 11-2 run within two minutes late in the game on the way to a 66-58 victory over the Sugar Bears on Tuesday night at the Farris Center.
UCA (6-5), having to work hard against the Cougars’ zone defense the second half, got off 66 shots but shot 26.7 percent the first half, 27.8 percent the second half, 27.3 percent for the game and 20 percent (5 of 25) from 3-point range.
"We got the shots we wanted once we settled in against their length; they just didn’t fall," said UCA coach Matt Daniel. "They hit big shots and we couldn’t hit any one."
The Cougars (5-7) beat the Sugar Bears by 16 in Chicago last year. Daniel described the rematch as a battle and it was until the final minutes. The lead changed hands 14 times and the score was tied nine times. In a game of spurts, the Cougars produced the final one.
Neither team led by more than five points when the Cougars began their run trailing 48-47 with 6:45 left. Janay Dockery scored on a back door cut, then added two free throws followed by a lane drive by Tressa Beckel. Jazzmyn Harvey, who scored 12 points on four-of-six shooting from the field, popped a 3-pointer with the shot clock at 1. On the next trip down court with the shot clock again showing :01, Dockery, who scored 14 points, fired up a prayer from the top of the key that was answered for a second straight 3-pointer that put the Cougars up 58-50 with 2:09 left. The Cougars then hit seven of nine free throws to keep the Sugar Bears at bay after Sidney Stewart hit back-to-back 3-pointers to keep UCA within striking distance.
"They hit shots with hands in their faces," Daniel said. "24 (Dockery) had a career night. We hadn’t seen her shoot on film because of the way they play."
The Sugar Bears, who trailed 33-32 at the half, were hampered significantly when post Megan Herbert committed two fouls in the first 1:22 of the game and didn’t play for the rest of the half. Herbert, who was averaging 16.7 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, only the sixth time in her career that she has failed to record a double-double.
Stewart, four of 12 from the field, led the Sugar Bears with 15 points.
Courtney Duever gave the Sugar Bears a big boost, particularly in the first half, in taking up the slack for Herbert. She finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.
"I want to make it clear I can’t stand to get beat, but with that said, I was pleased with the effort tonight and that’s the first time I’ve told the team that in the locker room," Daniel said. "We beat Eastern Kentucky and we didn’t play this hard. If we continue to come out that hungry, we’ll be OK."
The Sugar Bears host Oklahoma Wesleyan at 2 p.m. Saturday.