The Sugar Bears (16-7, 9-3 SLC) grabbed a tight win from Houston Baptist University (6-15, 2-9 SLC) 64-56 in the Farris Center on Feb. 8, rebounding from their loss to Southeastern Louisiana University Feb 3.
UCA led at the end of the first quarter when senior center Kierra Jordan made a layup in the paint, setting the tug-of-war between UCA and the Huskies as the Sugar Bears struggled to keep the Huskies from jumping back. After Jordan led the pushback that gave UCA a 13-12 lead, forward senior Taylor Baudoin put up a jumper and Jordan added another layup for UCA.
“Coach [Donna Finney] always tells us to respond, not react. Never get caught up in the adversity,” HBU sophomore guard Sydney Carr said.
The Sugar Bears were finally able to build up a lead with four consecutive shots put up by Jordan including a free-throw. But they would never breach a 10-point lead, and by the end of the third quarter, it was just a 3-point game.
HBU had the Bears beat in rebounds with Huskies’ junior center Veronika Kirienko hustling for a total of 11 by herself.
“They were passionate. Arkansas is [third]on the ladder. We gave it to them,” Megan Calver, who came to see her daughter, sophomore forward Lauren Calver, said. She was the sole HBU fan in the opposing team’s corner and had traveled with the team for the week before returning to life in Australia.
The Sugar Bears ran out of timeouts minutes before HBU, who used their final two in the last 40 seconds of the game.
“Stay down, play defense… and the rest will take care of itself. Just remember they’reacting in sprints,” Jordan said, explaining what coach Sandra Rushing had told the Sugar Bears.
The Huskies lost the game, but with no seniors, since the leave of forward senior Blair Gillard, a younger roster,
and a tie for 10th out of 13 in the Southland Conference standings, they were proud that they held some ground against the Sugar Bears.
“They’re a young team.They have no seniors. So watch out next year. Here come HBU,” Calver said.
Photo by Waid Rainey.