Tall or­der for Cen­tral Arkansas

Austin American-Statesman - - WOMEN'S NCAA TOURNAMENT - By Rick Cantu rcantu@states­man.com

Cen­tral Arkansas coach San­dra Rush­ing boasted about her team’s mas­cot Thurs­day, one day be­fore its NCAA women’s bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment first-round game against Texas. The Sugar Bears. “We’ve got the best mas­cot in the coun­try,” Rush­ing said. “Some­one asked where it came from. I said it’s be­cause we’re sweet.”

Sweet, per­haps, but also short. The Sugar Bears rely on their tallest play­ers, 6-foot-1 posts Kierra Jor­dan and Raquel Lo­gan. Jor­dan, who comes off the bench, ranks sec­ond in the team in scor­ing (13.7 ppg) and leads the team in re­bound­ing (6.8). Lo­gan, mean­while, has blocked 46 shots through 30 games.

Texas will counter with a tall front­court — 6-5 Kelsey Lang, 6-4 Au­drey-Ann Caron-Goudreau and 6-3 Joyner Holmes.

“I’m sure Texas will be stronger, maybe a lit­tle quicker,” se­nior guard Bri­anna Mullins said. “But re­gard­less of that, I feel like my team­mates and I have the heart to come and just play bas­ket­ball.”

Texas coach Karen As­ton de­scribed Cen­tral Arkansas as a “well-coached team” that has given big-name schools prob­lems.

“Peo­ple might not re­mem­ber they were ahead of Louisville after the first quar­ter last year (in a first-round NCAA tour­na­ment game),” she said.

Lang said the Longhorns need to take ad­van­tage of the height mis­match.

“We’ve been talk­ing about how we need to throw the ball in­side and we need to ex­pect dou­ble-teams,” Lang said. “We need to kick the ball back to our guards.”

Wolfpack are ris­ing: North Car­olina State is the No. 6 seed in the Lex­ing­ton Re­gional. But if you ask the Wolfpack, they’re seeded too low.

“If you would have told me five teams from the ACC were go­ing to be host­ing, I would have felt pretty good about play­ing at home this week­end,” coach Wes Moore told the Raleigh News & Ob­server on Mon­day. “Not real sure about how a team that fin­ishes sev­enth in the league (Mi­ami) gets to host. But hey, must have friends in high places. I don’t know.”

The Wolfpack are 22-8 over­all, 12-4 in the At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence.

ACC teams that will play host to first- and sec­ond-round tour­na­ment games are Mis­sis­sippi State (No. 2 seed), Mary­land (3), Florida State (3), Ken­tucky (4) and Mi­ami (4).

Mi­ami (23-8) was ranked 16th in the fi­nal As­so­ci­ated Press poll and is No. 15 in the NCAA’s RPI. North Car­olina is ranked 17th by the AP and No. 39 in the RPI.

Press­ing their luck: When the ball is tipped, Auburn will be in a full-court press.

Tigers coach Terri Wil­liams-Flournoy got the idea of press­ing 40 min­utes a game when she coached at Ge­orge­town. She had a bird’s-eye view of John Thomp­son Jr., who coached the men’s team.

The Hoyas “wreaked havoc” with the press, Wil­liams-Flournoy said.

“Ac­tu­ally it’s funny, I just watched the clip the other day of ‘40 Min­utes of Hell’ (about for­mer Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson). Watch­ing that de­fense, that’s the way I’ve al­ways wanted to play.”

The Tigers ben­e­fit from the press, rank­ing No. 2 in the na­tion (out of 344 teams) in turnovers forced per game (22.2).


Cen­tral Arkansas’ Tay­lor Bau­doin (23) and Mag­gie Prof­fitt hug late in the sec­ond half of the South­land Con­fer­ence Tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship game Sun­day. The Sugar Bears’ tallest play­ers are 6-foot-1.

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