Central Arkansas women’s basketball coach Sandra Rushing didn’t mince her words when describing her team’s 72-54 home loss to Sam Houston State on Saturday.
“I’m very frustrated with them as basketball players,” she said. “I am going to get control of this basketball team and if they don’t like it, they can go play somewhere else.”
The Sugar Bears (7-8, 3-3 Southland Conference) held close to the conference undefeated Bearkats (11-4, 6-0 SLC) for much of the first quarter as the two teams were tied at 11 with 4:30 left in the opening frame.
However, a layup by SHSU forward La’Sha Haynes and a mid-range jumper by senior guard Jenniffer Omaras pushed the lead up to four points one minute later.
The Bearkats started to peel away, finishing off the quarter with a 24-17 lead.
Rushing said her team fell behind because they got out of the game plan.
“We’re still trying to figure that out,” she said. “We played really selfish basketball. We can’t get the ball in on stuff we’ve worked on all year.”
A quick 10-0 run to open the quarter allowed the Bearkats to double up on the Sugar Bears, leading 34-17 with 4:41 left before halftime.
The run was helped by a pair of 3-pointers by SHSU junior guard Faith Cook, who finished 3 of 5 from behind the arc.
The second quarter was a struggle for the Sugar Bears as they hit just 2 of 13 shots and scored seven points.
Comparatively, the Bearkats made 7 of 18 shots, outscoring UCA 20-7 on the way to a 44-24 lead at the break.
The third quarter was slow for both teams as SHSU won the quarter, outscoring the Sugar Bears 11-10 to take a 55-34 lead.
UCA started showing signs of life, climbing out of the 21-point deficit to cut the lead down to 14 points with 4:32 left in the game.
However, that was as close as the game got as the Bearkats closed out winning the game 72-54.
Shooting was an issue in the middle quarters for UCA as it made just 5 of 24 shots over the second and third quarters.
The Sugar Bears managed just 17 points over the middle two quarters, while the first and fourth quarter fared much better.
In the first quarter, UCA hit 46.2% of its shots and in the fourth quarter, it hit at a 47.4% clip.
But, those middle quarters caused too many issues.
As did turnovers. The Sugar Bears turned the ball over 25 times throughout the game, which led to 25 SHSU points.
Cook and sophomore forward Amber Leggett led all scorers with 13 points, while Oramas had 12 and senior guard Jaylonn Walker scored 11 for the Bearkats in the winning effort.
Sophomore forward Alana Canady was the lone Sugar Bear in double figures as she finished with 11 points.
Senior guard Taylor Sells finished with eight points and eight rebounds.
The Sugar Bears will look to bounce back Wednesday as they travel down to Nacogdoches, Texas, to face another tough matchup in Stephen F. Austin.