UCA weathers Queens’ runs

CONWAY -- Each game remains a learning process for the University of Central Arkansas women's basketball team, despite what its record may suggest.

The Sugar Bears went through waves of playing up to Coach Tony Kemper's expectations in the first half of their 76-57 win over Queens (N.C.) Wednesday night at the Farris Center.

A 13-2 UCA run in the first quarter was followed by three straight Queens baskets to end the period. A 10-4 run from the Sugar Bears to open the second quarter was followed by a 6-3 run and the final shot of the first half from Queens (6-13, 0-6 ASUN) to make it 38-29 at halftime.

"At times throughout the game we played really well," Kemper said. "I think we need to continue to learn how to play a little bit better in the fourth quarter, you know? How do you protect a lead? How do you play aggressive without giving up what you've worked really hard for?"

Out of the break, Kemper's halftime message showed through the play of his team. UCA (13-6, 5-1) jumped out to an 11-4 start to quarter, extending the lead by another 10 points in the third.

"[At] halftime, it was really just we needed to do what we're trying to do a little bit better; that's really what it was," Kemper said. "We talked really about consistency. We need to do the things we're trying to do but do that more often."

In the third quarter, junior guard Randrea Wright took over for the Sugar Bears. She scored 12 of her team-high 16 points in the period, half of UCA's total for the third.

Jade Upshaw and Leah Mafua also reached with 10 points each for UCA. Kinley Fisher and Elizabeth Abiara each had nine points.

Kemper spent the fourth quarter working with his team on maintaining the lead it had built through the first three. Both teams scored 14 points in the final period to maintain UCA's 19-point advantage.

"I've really been slowing us down in the fourth quarter, trying to protect leads," Kemper said. "I wanted to give [Queens] the pace and tempo, so they could try to do it. There's kind of an art to being aggressive and then also understanding like, we were aggressive and missed, they made. We were aggressive and missed, they made. We quick-shot, and they made.

"At some point in time in there as a player, we've got to recognize we need to make them work a little bit before the next one. And so [we're] trying to grow in that and still let them be the players that they are."

UCA's defense caused Queens problems throughout the contest. The Sugar Bears' defensive gameplan of hard-hedging screens and pressing ball-handlers led to 20 points off of 15 turnovers by the Royals. Queens was held to 32.8% shooting from the field.

Jordyn Weaver led the Royals with 17 points, followed by Nicole Gwynn's 14 points.



The University of Central Arkansas played Queens even in the second half, but a 17-point halftime deficit was too much to overcome Wednesday night at Curry Arena in Charlotte, N.C.

UCA (7-14, 3-3 ASUN) was outscored 51-34 in the first half as Queens (7-14, 2-5) hit eight three-pointers and scored 12 points off of UCA turnovers.

Masai Olowokere and Elias Cato led the Bears with 16 points each. Tucker Anderson (13) and Daniel Sofield (11) also reached double figures scoring for UCA.

Queens' AJ McKee led all scorers with 28 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the field. Deyton Albury (18), Chris Ashby (17) and Bryce Cash (12) all reached double digits.

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