The University of Central Arkansas Bears, looking for the first Southland Conference victory of the season, will have two shots on the road this week.

The Bears (5-9, 0-4) will take on Sam Houston State at 8 p.m. Thursday in Huntsville, Texas, in a game broadcast live on Comcast Sportsnet Houston. UCA then heads south to face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 2:30 Saturday before returning home for four consecutive games.

The Sugar Bears (10-4), who have begun the conference season, 3-0, will play the preliminary game both nights. UCA and Sam Houston State were the only undefeated teams in conference play among women’s teams before the Bearkats lost Saturday to McNeese State.

The Bears, who lost to the Nos. 1-2 teams in the league last week at home (Stephen F. Austin, Northwestern State) now must face the No. 3 team in SHSU (10-6, 3-1). The Bearkats, so far, have beaten three teams from the bottom of the standings (Lamar, McNeese State, A&M-CC) that have a combined league record of 2-12 and an overall mark of 11-35.

The Bearkats’ lone SLC loss was by nine points at home to Northwestern State. Sam Houston has no players averaging double figures but has 10 who score at least 5.3 points per game. The Bearkats are the worst shooting team in the league from the field at 38.3 percent, but one of the top defensive teams, holding opponents to 40.1 percent shooting.

The Bears have never beaten the Bearkats (0-8 career) and are 0 for 6 since joining the Southland Conference. SHSU won 76-59 last year in Huntsville, hitting 24 of 36 free throws, compared to 8 of 14 for UCA.

UCA, the No. 2 three-point shooting team in the SLC, has made just 8 of 25 from beyond the arc (32 percent) in its past two games. Senior guard Robert Crawford continues to lead the league in 3-pointers made per game (3.2). Junior guard LaQuentin Miles returned last Thursday from a five-game absence due to a broken hand and scored 21 points in both games last week.

In SLC women’s play, the Bearkats, one of four teams just behind the Sugar Bears with one league loss.

The Sugar Bears will then travel to Corpus Christi to face the Islanders, who are 1-14 overall and 0-4 in Southland games.

Four games into the conference slate, UCA’s Megan Herbert leads the league in scoring at 24 points per game in conference play and is second overall behind Kevi Luper (19.5) at 18.9 per game. Courtney Duever, who averaged 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds while shooting 66.7 percent from the field and perfect from 3-point range and at the free throw line last week, is ninth overall in the league in scoring at 13.1 per game and fourth in rebounding at 8.3 per game.

The Bearkats are led by a pair of preseason first team All-Southland selections in seniors Britni Martin and Sequeena Thomas. Martin is fourth in the league in scoring at 19.3 points per game in conference play and is averaging 17.3 per game for the season, fifth in the league.

Thomas is the league’s top rebounder and fifth in the nation at 12.4 per game for the season and 13 per game in conference play, and is also the league’s seventh-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game. She is fourth in the nation with 11 double-doubles this season, and is second on the Southland career list with 44 – trailing only Herbert’s 72. She has recorded double-figure rebound totals in 14 of the team’s 16 games with a high of 17 against Texas A&M-Commerce.