With two games remaining in the regular season and the Southland Conference women’s basketball tournament on the horizon next week, there are still numerous seeding possibilities at play for Central Arkansas as the Sugar Bears enter the final week before their first postseason appearance in NCAA Division I.
Currently sitting in a fourth-place tie in the league standings, in order to move up the Sugar Bears need a win on tonight in the final home game of the season — which may also be one of the toughest. In their last appearance of the season in the Farris Center, the Sugar Bears (17-10, 9-5 Southland) take on the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners (14-13, 10-4) — the West Division leaders and a team UCA has never beaten — at 7 p.m.
Entering the final week of action, McNeese State leads the Southland with a 13-1 record and Lamar trailing close behind at 12-2. A win on tonight would give the Sugar Bears the tiebreaker over the Roadrunners with each team having one game remaining. The Sugar Bears finish the regular season at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, which is 2-25 overall and 0-14 in the league.
Even with a win against the Roadrunners, the Sugar Bears would need to defeat the Islanders on Saturday and hope for Sam Houston State — also 9-5 in the league — to slip one more time in order for UCA to assume the third seed. The Bearkats host Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday and finish at Texas State on Saturday. A loss would drop the Sugar Bears to sixth in conference play. Both SFA and Northwestern State have six losses entering Wednesday’s games, but play each other in the regular-season finale. The Sugar Bears own the tiebreaker over both teams and even with two losses, would only be able to drop beneath one in tournament seeding.
The Roadrunners have three players averaging double figures in scoring, led by senior guard Amber Gregg’s 14.3 points per game. Junior guard Ashley Gardner, who played at North Little Rock and Arkansas Baptist College, is second on the team at 11.3 points per game. Wednesday’s game pits two of the Southland’s three most successful programs over the past two seasons, with the Sugar Bears ranking second with 38 wins and UTSA 30 since the start of last season.
It will be the final game in the Farris Center for UCA seniors Megan Moss and Brea Banks. Moss, a 6-3 center from Coolidge, Ariz., who transferred from Central Arizona College, has been with the program for three seasons. Banks, a 5-11 forward from West Memphis who transferred in from Moberly Area CC, has been with the team two, though was limited to action in just two games last season due to injury.