CONWAY, Arkansas (KPLC) – McNeese’s Kyla Hamilton recorded a career-high 12 points while Regan Bolton scored 10, but Central Arkansas built a first half lead that was too much to overcome as the Sugar Bears defeated McNeese 70-49 here Saturday afternoon.
The loss was the fourth straight suffered by the Cowgirls as they fall to 5-17 overall and 2-11 in Southland Conference play. McNeese is still searching for its first win away from home, now 0-11 on the year. UCA evened its record at 11-11 with the win and 7-6 in conference play.
UCA led 22-13 after the first quarter after sinking 10 of 17 from the field for 59 percent.
After a 4-4 score early, UCA went on an 8-0 run over a three minute span and led 12-4 after a Briana Trigg jumper as she scored eight of her team’s first 12 points and finished the game with a team-high 24 points.
The Cowgirls kept it close and trailed 14-8 following a Shaela Gardner jumper with 3:50 to play in the quarter. UCA strung together an 8-1 run to go up 22-9 with 1:14 to play but Sky Jasper closed out the quarter with back-to-back jumpers to end the frame on a high note.
UCA opened up the game early in the second quarter with an 8-0 run in the first 3:18 to take a 30-13 lead. The lead grew to 40-19 following a Taylor Sells basket with 2:39 to go and Trigg closed out the half with a jumper to make it a 42-22 game at the half.
The Cowgirls played the Sugar Bears evenly in the second half but only got as close as 12 points early in the third quarter before the Sugar Bears rolled off eight straight to go back up by 20 midway through the frame.
“I thought that we had good looks around the basket throughout the game, we just did not do a good job of converting in some important moments, especially when UCA would go on runs,” said head coach Kacie Cryer. “Lapses on the defensive end hurt us and when you aren’t scoring, that’s not a good combo.
“I did like our energy and toughness to start the third quarter where we focused on getting stops and scores, but we have to keep that intensity, effort, energy and fight for an entire 40 minutes.”
The Cowgirls will return to action next Saturday when they visit Northwestern State in the first game of a double-header beginning at 1. McNeese has an open date this Wednesday.