Sugar Bears’ scoring spurt not enough in loss

CONWAY -- After a Thursday night loss to Austin Peay, acting head coach Tiffany Phillips said the University of Central Arkansas women's basketball team needed to start punching back in conference play.

In the third quarter Saturday afternoon, it did that, outsourcing Lipscomb 22-8 and taking a 46-41 lead into the fourth quarter.

But when the final buzzer sounded, it was an all too familiar sight on the scoreboard for UCA. Lipscomb won 65-57 at the Farris Center as the Sugar Bears fell to 1-6 in conference play.

The Bisons (12-7, 6-1 ASUN) opened the fourth quarter with a 21-6 run to take their first lead since midway through the third quarter. The Sugar Bears (6-12, 1-6) failed to score for more than four minutes as the Bisons passed them.

"In the fourth quarter, we got stuck on 54 [points] and couldn't score there," Phillips said. "You can't fault the fight in this team. That was tough, [but] we're going to get over the hump. We got to get a win."

To start the fourth quarter, Lipscomb's Jalyn Holcomb flashed toward the rim. She caught a pass from Claira McGowan and scored to make it 46-43.

That was the first sign of a gameplan change for the Bisons, who opted to stray away from long-range shots and look inside instead.

"I thought we did a pretty good job taking away the three, and then they started driving on us, and we were not doing a very good job defending those drives," said Phillips, who is coaching in place of Coach Sandra Rushing.

"That's on me. We got to do a better job adjusting defensively to that, so I want to take the blame for that."

Aleah Sorrentino, who entered leading Lipscomb with 14.7 points per game, was held to four points on 2-of-7 shooting. But in her place Bella Vinson scored 20 points and McGowan had 14.

"We did a good job on Sorrentino, holding her to four points," Phillips said. "I thought our posts did a much better job than they did Thursday night. But with Vinson, she had 10 at halftime and we wanted to limit her, and she ended up with 20."

A large part of that defensive effort goes to junior Kyjai Miles, who not only was largely responsible for guarding Sorrentino but also scored eight points and had eight rebounds.

Offensively, UCA leaned on the same two players it has recently, Randrea Wright had 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting, and Kinley Fisher had 16.

In her second start of conference play, senior Siera Carter reached double-digits for the second time this season with 10 points.

But as has been the issue for UCA, its bench wasn't able to provide much offensively. The three healthy bench players for the Sugar Bears combined score zero points on 0-of-3 shooting, whereas Lipscomb got 23 points from its bench.

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