The UCA Sugar Bears lost 63-49 to the Northwestern State University Lady Demons in the first round of the Southland Conference Tournament on March 12 in Katy, Texas, ending their season.
The Sugar Bears went into the tournament as a No. 7 seed playing the No. 6 seed Lady Demons.
The Sugar Bears, going into the game on a two-game losing streak, fell behind by 10 early in the first half.
They were able to come back and get the score within one at halftime and led by five at one point in the second half, but weren’t able to hold on to the lead down the stretch.
UCA coach Sandra Rushing said the team played well at times, but wasn’t able to put a full game together.
“We had a couple of good runs, we just made some mental mistakes,” Rushing said. “ During tournament time you can’t make those mistakes if you want to advance.”
UCA sophomore guard Maggie Proffitt said the team didn’t do a good job at responding to the Lady Demons at the end of the game.
“Though we made some runs, I don’t think we did a good job of handling their runs late in the second half,” Proffitt said.
The Sugar Bears struggled offensively in the game, shooting 28 percent from the field and 22 percent from beyond the arc.
Proffitt, UCA’s leading scorer averaging around 13.4 points per game, was held to just four points on 1-for-12 shooting.
Rushing said the team couldn’t hit shots in the game.
“We just couldn’t score,” Rushing said. “We had some open shots that didn’t fall.”
UCA junior Kendara Watts said that the struggles on offense affected the team overall.
“We didn’t make shots that we would normally make, and I think that’s what dropped our momentum,” Watts said.
The Sugar Bears also struggled taking care of the basketball, turning the ball over 14 times, with the Lady Demons converting that into 18 points.
UCA sophomore guard Brianna Mullins and senior forward Terai Sadler both had 10 points, while junior guard Jameka Watkins added eight points, four assists and three steals.
Freshman guard Angel Williams added seven points for UCA.
Northwestern State junior guard Keisha Lee led all scorers with 19, junior guard Janelle Perez had 16, and senior forward Presley Owens added 10.
Rushing said she wasn’t pleased with how the team performed against NSU.
“I’m disappointed with the loss and how we played,” Rushing said. “We have to learn how to play under pressure. I am happy with the improvement that this team made this year. We still have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Proffitt also believed that the Sugar Bears were better than how they performed.
“I definitely think we were better than our record shows,” Proffitt said. “We weren’t able to finish some close games down the stretch that we were capable of winning that I think would’ve really helped us.”
This is the fourth consecutive season that UCA was knocked out in the first round of the SLC Tournament.
The Sugar Bears ended the 2014-2015 season with a 10-8 Southland Conference record and a 17-14 overall record.