LAKE CHARLES—McNeese women’s basketball picked up its first win of the season and more importantly opened Southland Conference play with a 59-45 win over Central Arkansas Saturday.
McNeese (1-7, 1-0 SLC) placed three players in double-figure scoring with Kyla Hamilton leading all players with a career-high 15 points. Hamilton was equally as impressive on defense, ending the game with eight steals, one shy of tying the McNeese single-game record.
Also scoring in double figures was Claralee Richard with 13 and Mychala Linzy with 11.
The Cowgirls defense caused UCA (2-7, 0-1 SLC) to turn the ball over 32 times and McNeese scored 23 points off those turnovers.
McNeese held a UCA to six points in the first quarter and nine points in the second quarter, taking a 35-15 lead into the half. The Cowgirls shot 51.9 percent from the field and 50 percent (5-10) from three-point range in the first half. The Cowgirls never trailed in the game and held as much as a 22-point lead in the third quarter.
UCA cut the Cowgirl lead to nine points a few times in the fourth quarter but McNeese outscored the Sugar Bears 5-1 in the final two minutes of the game on the way to victory.
HEAD COACH KACIE CRYER QUOTES
“This is a big win for us and a momentum builder. This is huge, they are so excited right now. We have been through a lot and have been grinding it out but haven’t gotten the results we wanted. This group of girls deserve this win. We shot the ball well in the first half and we played good defense today. We aren’t looking back at what we did in the preseason, we are focusing on conference games right now.
McNeese took an early 4-0 lead behind eight points by Clara Lee Richard to hold a 14-6 first quarter lead. The lead in the first quarter is the first time this season the Cowgirls have held the lead. McNeese 16, UCA 4
The Cowgirls continued to build on their lead with stiff defense and went on several scoring runs throughout the quarter. McNeese went on a 13-3 run within a five-minute span and then held UCA scoreless for the final 3:20 left in the quarter by outscoring the Sugar Bears 8-0. McNeese 35-15
The Cowgirls began the second half slow and were outscored 17-10. McNeese didn’t shoot the ball as well from the field in the quarter, making 2 of 11 from the field but the defense continued to disrupt UCA. McNeese held its largest lead of the game (22 points) in the quarter.
UCA got as close as nine points a couple of time in the quarter but Hamilton’s two free throws with 1:23 left to play put the Cowgirls lead back to double digits. McNeese outscored the UCA 5-1 in the final two minutes of the game.
- Cowgirls picked up their first win of the season
- The 15 points and eight steals by Kyla Hamilton are career highs. The eight steals are one shy of tying the McNeese individual game record.
- The win snaps an 18-game Cowgirl losing streak dating back to last season.
- The win over UCA is the first in the last 10 games