SAN ANTONIO — UTSA used a 7-0 run late in the second half to pull within a basket, but Central Arkansas held the Roadrunners scoreless over the final 3:52 en route to a 62-50 victory on Wednesday night at the Convocation Center.
Senior Ashley Gardner and junior Lyndi Thorman led the way for the Roadrunners (8-20, 4-11 SLC) with 12 points apiece. Freshman Kamra King chipped in with 11, while Thorman added seven boards to her season-high point total.
Aided by a 10-for-10 night from the charity stripe, Megan Herbert scored a game-high 22 points to go along with 13 rebounds to pace the Sugar Bears (23-5, 13-2 SLC), who clinched a share of the Southland Conference Regular Season Championship.
The score was tied twice early before Central Arkansas took the lead for good with a 10-2 run.
Micah Rice and Nakeia Guiden hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark the spurt that was capped by a jumper from Courtney Duever.
The advantage swelled to as much as 13 on Desiree’ Rogers’ trey with seven-and-a-half minutes left on the clock and the Sugar Bears carried a 33-24 lead into halftime.
Junior Cori Cooper put UTSA on the board with a layup to start the second half, but that basket was answered by an Hebert 3-pointer, which pushed the advantage back to double digits.
However, the Roadrunners crept back into the game with six consecutive points, four of which were scored by junior Jalisa Montgomery, before two more treys gave Central Arkansas its final double-digit lead with 11:17 to play.
Facing a 52-43 deficit, UTSA went on a run that started with three Thorman free throws. Fellow junior Simone Young added a freebie before Gardner’s triple closed the gap to two at 52-50.
The Sugar Bear defense tightened up and closed the contest on a 10-0 run to clinch the victory and their first Southland title.
thought we were going to catch them in the second half, but we missed
layups and open threes," head coach Rae Rippetoe-Blair said. "Against a
good team like that, you have to knock those down.”
After shooting UCA shot 52.2 percent in the opening half, the Roadrunners the Sugar Bears to just 17.4 percent (4-of-23) in the second stanza, but the poor shooting from the floor was offset by a perfect 18-for-18 effort from the free throw line in the final 20 minutes.
The Roadrunners shot just 28.8 percent on the night but held a 38-35 advantage on the glass.
UTSA will conclude its season on Saturday when it hosts UT Arlington (6-21, 4-11 SLC) at 4 p.m. The Roadrunners will honor Gardner and fellow senior Ijeoma Waturuocha before the game as part of their Senior Day festivities.