Second-half Surge Lifts Sugar Bears to Victory Over Islanders

Courtesy UCA Athletics Department

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — After struggling through its lowest-scoring first half of the season with just 22 points, Central Arkansas started the second half with a 10-0 run and never looked back as the Sugar Bears defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 55-40 Saturday at the American Bank Center.

Sugar Bears Basketball

Down 23-22 at the half, the Sugar Bears (12-5, 5-1 Southland) sprinted out of the gates to take control of the game and never surrendered the lead as they held the Islanders (1-16, 0-6) to just 17 second-half points on 5-for-25 shooting.

“I thought we came out sluggish in the first half, but I’m really proud of the way we came out and responded in the second half,” said Central Arkansas head coach Sandra Rushing. “We were getting pushed around inside a little bit, and we expect that, but I thought Megan and Courtney handled it well. I thought Desiree’ play a good second half, and I’ve said it all along that’s something we’ve got to have to win some ballgames.” 

In the first 7:19 of the second half the Sugar Bears had outscored the Islanders 18-4 to take a 40-27 lead, and never allowed A&M-Corpus Christi to draw any closer than seven. The Islanders got their deficit back to single digits at 49-40 with 2:27, but the Sugar Beras closed with the game’s final six points – getting their biggest lead and final basket of the game on a Megan Herbert layup with 1:22 to play.

Herbert had her 74th career double-double and reached double-figures scoring for the 100th time in her career with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Courtney Duever had her sixth double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds. The duo combined to go 10-for-12 at the free throw line as the Sugar Bears finished 16-for-18 (88.9 percent). 

Megan Herbert had her 100th career double-figures scoring game and 74th double-double on Saturday.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well from outside (1-for-7 from 3-point range), but I’m very happy with our free throws,” Rushing said. “We’ve been averaging in the low 60s percentage-wise, so to shoot that well on the road to win a ballgame is encouraging. That was probably the difference in the game.”

The Sugar Bears out rebounded the Islanders 41-34 and forced 19 turnovers while committing just 12. Tracey Parsons led the Sugar Bears with five assists and four steals in 26 minutes, and Desiree’ Rogers added eight points, three rebounds and two steals. Brandi Huff led the Islanders with 10 points and eight rebounds. 

The Sugar Bears come home for their next four games, starting with two-time defending Southland Conference tournament champion McNeese State on Thursday and Lamar, which is 5-1 in league play, on Saturday.


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