Southeast women drop battle of youth vs. UCA

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The nation's youngest NCAA Division I women's basketball team got the best of the country's fifth-youngest squad Saturday.

That was bad news for Southeast Missouri State, which suffered a 72-64 loss to Central Arkansas in Conway, Ark.

Southeast fell to 3-7 by losing for the seventh time in its last eight games. UCA (7-2) has won seven straight.

For the first time this season, the Redhawks played a team with less Division I experience than they possess.

But UCA, which went 6-23 last year and lost at Southeast by 19 points, prevailed despite starting four freshmen.

One of UCA's rookies caused major problems for Southeast as freshman forward Megan Herbert poured in 30 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. She entered play averaging 23.6 points and 13.3 rebounds.

Southeast was paced by freshman forward Bailie Roberts with 12 points. Also scoring in double figures were freshman forward Jasmine Davis with 11 points and junior wing Lauren Sharpe with 10. Senior center Lesley Adams grabbed 13 rebounds to tie her career high.

The Redhawks trailed 31-30 at halftime, but opened up a 54-43 lead midway through the final period.

The Sugar Bears then scored 19 of the next 22 points to surge ahead 62-57 with under six minutes left. Southeast got no closer than three points after that as the Redhawks scored just 10 points over the final 9:22.

UCA held a big advantage from the free-throw line, making 34 of 37 for a sizzling 91.9 percent. Herbert hit 18 of 19. Southeast also was impressive from the stripe, nailing 16 of 18 for 88.9 percent.

The Sugar Bears shot just 26.6 percent from the field, compared to 38.9 for the Redhawks.

Southeast was hurt by 24 turnovers, compared to only 12 for UCA. The Sugar Bears had a 29-9 advantage in points off turnovers.

Saturday's game began a stretch of three straight nonconference road contests for Southeast, which plays at Alabama-Birmingham (4-6) Tuesday in the first meeting between the programs.

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