Sugar Bears drop overtime thriller, fall to 3-4 in SLC

The UCA Sugar Bears basketball team beat the University of New Orleans Privateers 53-46 Jan. 21 in New Orleans, Louisiana and lost 75-72 in overtime to the Nicholls State Colonels on Jan. 24 at home.

The win over UNO broke a three-game losing streak in the Southland Conference.

It was a close game against the Privateers (2-14, 0-7 SLC), with three lead changes and four tied scores.

UCA (10-9, 3-4 SLC) won the game from the free-throw line, shooting 10 for 12 from the line in the second half.

Six of those free throws were made in the remaining 45 seconds of the game to give the Sugar Bears the win with a final score of 53-46.

In the UNO game, UCA’s sophomore guard Maggie Proffitt was four for nine from behind the 3-point line, which pushed her career total to 103 3-point field goals in just 49 games.

Proffitt ranks third in 3-pointers in UCA’s history since moving to Division I in 2006 and is tied for 11th overall all-time.

She finished the game with 16 points alongside junior guard Kendara Watts, who also had 16 points.

Coach Sandra Rushing said the team did a better job of running its offense and reversing the ball against UNO than it did in the previous three games that the team lost.

Following the win against UNO, UCA returned home to play against NSU.

The Sugar Bears started off strong, going up by 13 in the first half before the Colonels fought back and closed the first half down by two in what was another close game for the Sugar Bears.

With 19 seconds left on the clock in regulation, the score was tied at 64 with UCA having possession.

The Sugar Bears had a chance to win the game, but were unable to get a shot off against the tough Nicholls’ full-court pressure.

Rushing said the team’s youth helped determine the outcome.

“The Nicholls game showed our inexperience,” she said. “We had no timeouts left and weren’t able to get to the rim. We also had too many turnovers and missed several free throws.”

Sophomore guard Kelsey McClure, who led UCA in scoring, said once the team finally broke Nicholls’ press and got the ball across half-court, the team lost track of time in all the chaos and didn’t have any open looks.

“Nicholls was putting on really tough pressure and, at first, we were just trying to get the ball across half court,” she said. “When we finally did, we lost track of time and it was chaos and we weren’t able to get a shot up.”

The Sugar Bears would end the closely fought battle in overtime with a loss against the Colonels 75-72.

McClure had 21 points, her season high for the Sugar Bears, and added seven rebounds and five assists.

Sophomore guard Brianna Mullins added 14 points, three assists and two steals, playing 42 of 45 minutes in the game.

Watts also scored 14 points.

UCA’s leading scorer of the season, Proffitt was 0 for 5 from the 3-point line and was held to six points overall.

The Sugar Bears now sit in eighth in the SLC.

The team will take on No. 1 in the SLC, the Northwestern State University Lady Demons (12-7, 7-1 SLC), at 7 p.m. tonight in the Farris Center.

The team will then travel to Hammond, Louisiana to take on the Southeastern Louisiana University Lady Lions (6-11, 2-4 SLC) at 7 p.m. Feb. 2.

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