Judging by Central Arkansas Sugar Bears coach Sandra Rushing’s comments after UCA’s Southland Conference opening loss to McNeese State on Jan. 2, her Sugar Bears will be enticed to play much better Wednesday at New Orleans.
Rushing stated her team “got outworked, outplayed and outcoached.”
It was the first game for the Sugar Bears (2-7, 0-1 Southland Conference) since a Dec. 20 72-49 loss to then No. 13 Mississippi State in Starkville, Mississippi, and it was easy to see why Rushing commented that way about her team.
Perhaps the most eye-opening stat from the 59-45 loss to the Cowgirls in Lake Charles, Louisiana, is the Sugar Bears’ 32 turnovers, which were converted into 23 McNeese points.
All 13 of UCA’s players that logged minutes had at least one turnover, while sophomore forward Terri Crawford led the team with six.
Conversely, McNeese turned the ball over 15 times, while UCA converted that into just four turnovers.
The Sugar Bears did double up the Cowgirls in rebounds at 51-25, but UCA’s lack of offense, something that has plagued the team for years now, along with the turnovers are what caused Saturday’s loss.
The Sugar Bears shot 29.4 percent from the field, falling just shy of the season average of 31.4%.
None of the 13 UCA players managed to reach double figures with freshman forward Jayla Cody leading the way with nine.
Putting that game in the rearview mirror, the Sugar Bears look to bounce back against the 3-4 New Orleans Privateers.
New Orleans kicked off SLC play in much worse fashion than UCA, falling 88-29 to the conference preseason favorite Stephen F. Austin.
The Privateers had a bad night across the board as team-leading scorer sophomore guard Mia Deck was held to just four points on 0 of 7 shooting, picking up all her points at the free-throw line on six attempts.
Deck’s poor shooting was contagious as New Orleans registered eight made field goals all game with senior guard Jada Duncantell making half of those on 14 attempts.
The Privateers shot 18.2 percent from the field in the loss and turned the ball over 35 times, which turned into a highly efficient 44 points for SFA.
There was little New Orleans could do right as the Lady Jacks nearly outrebounded the Privateers’ total on the defensive glass alone.
New Orleans registered 33 rebounds for the game, while SFA pulled down 30 defensive rebounds and added 16 on the offensive glass.
Not unlike UCA, it was New Orleans’ first game since a 66-62 Dec. 22 win over Alcorn State.
Both Privateers and Sugar Bears desperately need to play much better as the two teams face off in New Orleans.
On the season, Deck leads the team in points per game with 10.0, while junior forward Erin Randle leads the team in rebounds at 5.0 per game as well as blocks with six.
Duncantell narrowly holds the team lead in assists with 15, while sophomore guard Mary Delgado holds the team-lead in steals with 11.
UCA redshirt freshman guard Jalisa Outlaw leads the team in points per game with 13.2, while junior forward Lucy Ibeh leads the team in rebounds per game at 6.5 as well as steals with 18.
Senior guard Tori Lasker holds the team-lead in assists with 18, while Cody leads the team in blocks with four.
The game tips off at 7 p.m. Wednesday in New Orleans.