Sometimes college basketball can be perplexing.
All anyone needs to do to figure that out is watch the NCAA Tournament each year, when March becomes mired in "madness."
But the regular season isn't immune from that either.
Like when then-No. 1 Kentucky lost on its home floor to Evansville in November, or when then-No. 1 Duke also lost on its home floor to Stephen F. Austin later in the month.
Or just last week when then-No. 20 Memphis was blown out by 40 points at Tulsa.
Arkansas State University women's Coach Matt Daniel's Red Wolves experienced their own taste of college basketball's ups and downs recently.
Last Thursday, ASU was blown out by 40 on the road against Louisiana-Lafayette (13-6, 6-2), and it had less than a 48-hour turnaround before it hosted another top-tier Sun Belt Conference team in Coastal Carolina (15-3, 5-2).
Heading into Saturday, the Red Wolves had dropped two consecutive games since their four-game win streak that had moved them to 4-1 in Sun Belt play.
But ASU instead orchestrated one of its biggest wins of the season with a 63-61 victory over the Chanticleers in Jonesboro thanks to a buzzer-beating put-back basket by sophomore guard Jireh Washington.
"Like I told the kids, we had every excuse not to go play," Daniel said. "We got beat [by] 40, drove down there eight hours, drove back eight hours, got back at 4:20 on Friday morning, had a walk through Friday night, showed up and played on Saturday.
"We basically practiced on Saturday before we played, and for their ability to respond, I was really proud of."
But how did the Red Wolves (8-11, 5-3) go from losing by 40 to one of the best teams in the conference, to beating another one less than 48 hours later?
"I don't know," Daniel said. "I mean, we're inconsistent. I don't think [Louisiana-Lafayette is] that good, and I don't think we're that bad. It just kind of was a perfect storm, and we weren't into it. When you're not into it, those things happen."
The benefit for ASU this week is that it didn't have a weekday game and will be fully rested once it faces Louisiana-Monroe (3-16, 1-7) on Saturday in Monroe, La., at noon Central.
"We've got to be solid," Daniel said. "We've got to be more solid in everything we're doing."
Nearing a milestone
University of Arkansas at Little Rock senior guard Kyra Collier is nearing another milestone in her Trojans career.
Collier is currently nine steals away from notching 200 in her career, which would make her just the second player in program history with at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists and 200 steals. Former forward Chastity Reed -- who is UALR's first and only WNBA Draft pick -- is the other Trojan to have reached the 1,000-500-300-200 milestones.
At the rate she's currently on, Collier should have no trouble getting to the steals milestone very soon, as the senior has tallied four in five of the last seven games.
Earlier this month, after she surpassed the 500 career rebounds and 1,000 career points marks in back-to-back games, Collier became the eighth Trojan all time to have reached those two figures.
Now the North Little Rock High School product is eyeing Reed's rarefied company. Collier is making a serious case for Sun Belt player of the year, averaging 16.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
UALR women's Coach Joe Foley is also closing in on an important career milestone of his own -- the 800 wins club. Foley sits at 797. Only 12 coaches in women's college basketball history have at least 800 wins, including six who are active.
Foley owns a 797-266 career record and 341-184 record at UALR.
On a down slide
It's been a rough stretch lately for the University of Central Arkansas women's basketball team.
After a 3-1 start to Southland Conference play, the Sugar Bears have dropped five of their past six games, including Wednesday's 63-42 road loss to Southeastern Louisiana.
The Sugar Bears (8-11) have fallen to 4-6 in league play, which put them in a tie for eighth heading into Thursday.
"I feel like that our defense is definitely not where I want it to be," UCA Coach Sandra Rushing said. "We're taking possessions off. We're relaxing off the ball and not getting quite to our help side as quickly as I would like."
The Sugar Bears still rank third in the Southland in both scoring defense (57.7 ppg) and field goal defense (37.9%), but the past few games have been a tough go for UCA on that end of the floor.
UCA has allowed over 70 points in three of its recent five losses, including a 102-41 loss at Stephen F. Austin, the league's top team at 16-3 overall and 9-1 Southland, on Jan. 15.
Back on winning track
The UCA men's team got back on track Wednesday with a 88-68 victory over Southeastern Louisiana in Conway, snapping a three-game losing skid.
All three of those losses had been by a combined nine points. With the victory, UCA (6-15, 5-5 Southland Conference) got back to .500 in league play. The Bears are tied for sixth in the league.
"It was a huge win," junior guard Rylan Bergersen said after Wednesday's game "We knew that we had lost three straight, and we played some good teams and we had played pretty well. We just told ourselves let's stay the course, stay the course, it's going to work out for us."
Sports on 01/31/2020
Print Headline: ASU hits high note pretty fast