Seeking National Crown, SAGU Faces King
Lady Lions earn at-large berth for 8-team NCCAA field
Seeded #1, SAGU plays Thursday in livestreamed game at 4:00pm (CST)
By Mark "Link" Warde and Clay Scarborough
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Exonerated from Thursday's upset loss during the Central Regionals in Oklahoma City, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University women's basketball team has a new lease on life.
The National Christian College Athletic Association, headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, issued an at-large bid to the 2011 national tournament, March 17-19. The NCCAA sends the winners of their six regional tourneys along with two at-large teams to form an 8-team national field.
Not only have the Lady Lions received a break after coming up short against Southwestern Christian University four days ago, but based on their outstanding play from November through March, they were named the #1 seed at nationals.
For Head Coach Arlon Beadles, this will be the second time he has led a team to the NCCAA nationals. "I'm very happy," he said prior to departing on Monday morning. "Our seniors? Well, they're thrilled! They thought their careers were over!"
His advice for the team when they take to the court in the Hoosier State? "Play hard and have fun! If we win, it’s a plus!!"
Just last week, Coach Beadles was named the Coach of the Year in the Central Region. It was the sixth time he has been named by his peers for the honor, including the past three seasons.
Thursday quarterfinal at 4pm (CST) on livestream
SAGU, 21-12, will face the #8 seeded King College on Thursday evening, March 17. Tip-off is set for 5:00pm (Indiana local time). Winona Lake is in the Eastern Standard Time Zone, an hour later than CST.
The game will be available for fans to view on a special webcast. Go to www.grace.edu and to their Athletics page for easy instructions for watching the game.
Tournament host, Grace College
The event will be played on the campus of Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana, a town made famous as the birthplace of the late preacher and professional baseball player, Billy Sunday. Winona Lake, the former Free Methodist Church headquarters, is located in north-central Indiana, 37 miles northwest of Fort Wayne, and 39 miles southeast of South Bend.
The team departs from Waxahachie on Monday morning for the 862 mile trek.
The Orthopaedic Capital Center will host the NCCAA 2011 tournament, which seats over 2,000 fans. The OCC is one of the best basketball arenas (see photos) in the Midwest. The gym has excellent seating as well as on overlooking room for fans that has been converted into a classy perch for viewing the action.
Grace has 1,300 students and fields teams in 14 intercollegiate sports.
NCCAA Nationals Qualifying Teams
|#1||SAGU Lady Lions||Waxahachie, TX||21-12|
|#2||Bethel College Lady Pilots||Mishawaka, IN||18-14|
|#3||Emmanuel College Lady Lions||Franklin Springs, GA||17-14|
|#4||Roberts Wesleyan College Lady Raiders||Rochester, NY||19-11|
|#5||Grace College Lady Lancers||Winona Lake, IN||16-15|
|#6||Trinity International Univ Lady Trojans||Deerfield, IL||18-14|
|#7||Mid-America Christian Univ Lady Evangels||Oklahoma City, OK||14-16|
|#8||King College Tornados||Bristol, TN||13-16|
There will also be consolation games for teams that fail to advance to Saturday's 5:00pm championship. Should the Lady Lions win on Thursday, they will play on Friday at 6:00pm (CST) versus the winner of the Grace College-Roberts Wesleyan game (Wed. 6:30pm). If SAGU loses on Thursday, they will play on Friday at 2:00pm (CST) against the loser between Grace and Roberts.
Lady Lions Diary
Fans can follow the experiences of the team's travel, community service projects on Wednesday, pre-tournament banquet, Parade of Champions (Thursday 6:00pm CST), and the games, including photographs, here on the SAGU website. Two players will submit a daily diary each night.
About the NCCAA
Over 100 Christian colleges and universities comprise the NCCAA involving well over 13,000 student-athletes and 450 coaches. A combined total of 16 national championships in men's and women's sports are sponsored by the NCCAA.
The very existence of the NCCAA speaks to the need of a different game plan for college athletics in the midst of an era when the very foundations of our society are being eroded morally.
The National Office of the NCCAA is located in Greenville, South Carolina.