Central Arkansas Christian’s Lady Mustangs came up short last week in their chance to avenge an earlier conference loss to Malvern, but they have little time to brood about it.
CAC, which opened a busy week 14-5 overall and 4-2 in the 7-4A, played Arkansas Baptist on Tuesday and will travel to Nashville on Friday, Bauxite on Saturday and Pulaski Robinson on Tuesday, Jan. 29.
"Nashville will be a tough game," said Quattlebaum, whose Lady Mustangs escaped the Lady Scrappers by just 54-52 in their first meeting last week. "I hope we’ll play a little better. If we don’t play well, we’ll get beat down there. It’s a tough place to play anyway, an old gym. They’re building a new arena for next year.
"And it’s the same way at Bauxite. We’ve played them in team camp a couple of times, and we’ve played them in junior high, so we’ll know a little more about them than some of the others.
"It really is a key week. We’ll find out a lot about our team."
He said Nashville was better than he had anticipated. The Lady Mustangs were a little lucky to escape with the win last week. With the game tied and 12 seconds left, the Lady Scrappers were going for the last shot, but Sydnie Jones stole the ball. Sarah Butler took a 30-footer at the buzzer; Falan Miller caught the air ball and put it in for the deciding two points.
"We were about to get beat," Quattlebaum said. "We played pretty bad, but Nashville is pretty good. We don’t usually give up quite that many points, but they hit some shots; we turned the ball over and didn’t play very well."
Last week’s game at Ashdown, postponed because of winter weather, was rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 2.
Malvern, which had prevailed in the first meeting, 52-40, escaped Mustang Mountain on Friday, 54-44. The Lady Leopards were 18-1 and ranked atop Class 4A in one statewide newspaper.
"Malvern was just better than we were this time," Quattlebaum said. "I was hoping that wasn’t the case, but it is. We didn’t play terrible."
As in the first meeting, the Lady Mustangs took early leads, but Jones and Miller each picked up a couple of early fouls.
"We had to play a little differently then," Quattlebaum said. "Neither one fouled out, but we had to play more zone than we wanted to. They had to back off a couple of times.
"And we just turned the ball over too much. We didn’t handle the pressure as well as I thought we would. We had 23 turnovers, and you’re not going to be real good against good teams until you get that number down."
The Lady Leopards also hurt the Lady Mustangs with second-chance buckets. Malvern recorded 17 offensive rebounds and scored 20 points on put-backs.
"They outscored us 14-5 in the third quarter," Quattlebaum said. "It was a matter of a four- or five-minute stretch when we couldn’t score, we turned it over and they got a few easy baskets. That was the game."
Jones led CAC with 19 points. Miller added 17.
The Lady Mustangs bounced back Saturday against Robinson in a 69-51 victory. They shot well, making eight 3-pointers, probably a high for the season, the coach said.
"Jones had 25 and Miller 24, and Butler had seven or eight assists and did a good job defensively until the fourth quarter," he said. "We gave up 20 points then, but we had a good first half and scored 46, including 27 in the second quarter. That’s a good quarter for us."
He said Sunday he hoped to get junior Rachel Mina back this week from a shoulder injury.
"She’ll help us quite a bit defensively and rebounding," he said. "She could’ve been out the whole year, but she’s been rehabbing pretty hard. We’re still missing some pieces to our puzzle."