The Sugar Bears earned a hard fought win against the Houston Baptist Huskies Thursday afternoon, kicking it into high gear during the second half.
The 56-51 win advanced the Sugar Bears to the third round of the 2021 Southland Conference Tournament in Katy, Texas.
“We weren’t playing our game in the first half. We were playing selfish,” said senior guard/forward Briana Trigg to UCA sports. At the end of the first half, the Sugar Bears were behind by just four points at a score of 23-19.
Trigg led the team with a total of 19 points, a season-high for the Florida native. Trigg made eight of her 10 field goals, and three of her five free throws.
While the Huskies outscored the Sugar Bears in the first, second and third quarters, the Sugar Bears heavy scoring in the third quarter was a big factor in the win. Senior guard Savanna Walker said the team “had a refuse to lose attitude.”
The Huskies scored the first points of the game with a layup from Timia Jefferson, the Sugar Bears having only a brief one point lead during the first quarter. Walker closed the gap with a jumper in the last 10 seconds to get the Sugar Bears just a point behind at 10-9.
The Huskies charged through the first five minutes of the second quarter, establishing a 9-point lead. During this charge, Julija Vujakovic scored the only 3-pointer of the whole game for the Huskies. The remainder of the quarter saw the Sugar Bears chip away at the Huskies lead, ending the quarter down four points at 23-19.
“Our freshmen didn’t play like freshmen today. Our bench came and stepped up when we needed them the most,” Walker said to UCA Sports.
Walker was definitely right about the freshmen doing well on Thursday, freshman forward Jayla Cody was third in scoring for the Sugar Bears at nine points. Cody made a layup in the third quarter that put the Sugar Bears in the lead.
After that, the Sugar Bears stayed in the lead for nearly the rest of the game, only being tied at 31-31 for one minute before Terri Crawford made a jumper that restored the team’s lead. The third quarter ended with the Sugar Bears in the lead at 42-36.
During the fourth quarter, the Huskies made seven failed 3-pointer attempts and never regained the lead. But the Huskies still stayed close on the Sugar Bears’ heels, often just about four points behind.
While the final minute only had free throw points for the Sugar Bears, the Huskies were not able to secure the points needed to win the game.
“I’m really proud of this team and the way they fought,” said Sugar Bears head coach, Sandra Rushing, to UCA Sports. Rushing went on to say that being in the conference tournament says a lot about the team. “We just beat a really good basketball team,” she said.
The next tournament matchup for the Sugar Bears saw the Lamar Cardinals on March 12. The last game between the two teams in early 2020 ended in a solid win for the Sugar Bears.