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SAGU rallies from 13-point deficit to win, 54-46

Cox, Roberts dominate the boards

HOUSTON, Texas  --  Southwestern Assemblies of God University, behind a solid defense and the ability to draw rebounds like moths to a fire, defeated the University of St. Thomas in women's basketball, 54-46, on Monday night at the Jerabeck Athletic Center.

Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS), a 6'1 freshman from East Texas, earned high praise for stepping in at forward and turned heads with her performance. She scored 12 points and yanked down 17 rebounds, eight off the offensive glass, made a pair of steals in just 22 minutes of playing time.

"She was the main reason we pulled this one out," said Assistant Coach Ryan Russell. "She was physical and commanding. If she would have finished around the rim, she could have scored alot more."

Cox made just three of ten shots in the paint, but was clutch late in the game when she nailed six free throws.

"She was huge," Russell continued. "We'll have to look for more playing time for her."

With Gabby Bruner (Peaster, Tx / Peaster HS) out with a concussion suffered in the overtime loss to Jarvis Christian College two days prior, the Lady Lions started Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS) at forward. She struggled to find her rythym, which led Head Coach Arlon Beadles to bring Cox into the fray. And she delivered the goods.

Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS) had 10-points and 14 rebounds and Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JuCo, Lakeview Centennial) tossed in 11 and collected four steals.

Slow out of the gate, SAGU rallies from 13-point deficit

The Lady Celts vaulted to a 13-0 lead to start the game but struggled down the stretch as SAGU exercised their will against their younger opponent. "We just kept chipping away at the deficit," said Coach Russell. "We were tied at the half, 23-all, and then kept on doing what was working. Mostly, it was good defense and rebounding."

With a superior interior, powered by Roberts, Cox and Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS), the trio outboarded the Celts 35-33, and led to more opportunities on the foul line. Once at the stripe, SAGU sunk 20-of-34 tries compared to St. Thomas' 12-of-20 .

In the other areas of the game, according to Russell, the teams were "dead even."

Shooting from the field; SAGU 29% (16 of 56), UST 31% (11 of 44). Turnovers; SAGU 21, UST 20.

All of the missed shots meant plenty of caroms to be had. And Southwestern grabbed a lionshare of the rebounds, 51-33, including a 21-6 ambush on the offensive end. Cox and Roberts latched onto eight and six respectively.

Lugo: Cool, calm, collected

Late in the game, with the Celts threatening to rally, Winston sustained an injury that forced her to the sideline with a minute to go. Andrea Lugo (San Antonio, Tx / Somerset HS) replaced her.

The target of St. Thomas fouls, she went to the foul line and, with ice water running through her veins, stroked four straight free throws in four tries to effectively clinch the game.

During her freshman season, Lugo was good on 59% of her foul shots. This year she was hitting 40% (6 of 15).

"I was due," she said. "Things haven't gone my way as much as I'd like and I had to battle through. Making them was reassuring."

Two players rose to the occasion on defense, Tina Brown (New Braunfels, Tx / Lifegate Christian) and Sascha Lewis (Lufkin, Tx / Hudson HS).

"They both stepped in made defensive stops," Russell said. "They were very good contributors. By controlling St. Thomas' offense, it gave us the chance to regroup and to recover."

Once they took the lead, the Lady Lions kept the Celts at bay, holding the upper-hand from four to seven points the rest of the way. They never drove to within four, according to Russell.

A pair of three-pointers help jump-start a sluggish offense. Winston and Rodriguez each fired a three-ball.

Lady Lions move up in standings, host Bacone on Thursday

SAGU improves to 6-12 overall and are 3-9 in the Red River Athletic Conference. Two weeks ago they were in 13th place in the league. The win moved them up to 10th place. With another victory on Thursday against Bacone College (7-9, 4-8 in RRAC), they could be in a tie for seventh place. (Current RRAC standings below)

The teams in the league play each other twice; at home and on the road. Five of the Lady Lions' losses came in games they led with two minutes to play, including a 46-44 loss at Bacone in December.

SAGU dominated the game on the boards, 44-27, and held the Warriors to 26% shooting. The Tribe made just 12 baskets in the entire game. The free throw line was a different matter. BC netted 20 of 27 and took the lead in the closing moments.

Bruner had a superb performance, pouring in 16 points and claiming 10 boards. Her return is highly questionable.

Contact: Mark "Link" Warde, Sports Information Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 469-658-2847.

 

Rank School RRAC Overall GB Home Away Neutral Streak
RV LSU-Shreveport 11-1 .917 13-5 .722 -- 8-2 4-1 1-2 Won 7
8 Langston 11-2 .846 17-2 .895 0.5 8-1 8-1 1-0 Lost 2
RV Our Lady of the Lake 11-2 .846 16-3 .842 0.5 8-1 8-2 0-0 Won 3
RV Texas Wesleyan 10-2 .833 15-3 .833 1.0 9-0 6-3 0-0 Won 5
  Wiley 7-4 .636 11-5 .688 3.5 7-0 3-5 1-0 Won 2
  Jarvis Christian 7-5 .583 7-5 .583 4.0 2-2 5-3 0-0 Lost 1
  Texas College 5-8 .385 5-13 .278 6.5 3-4 2-7 0-2 Won 2
  Bacone 4-8 .333 8-9 .471 7.0 6-4 2-5 0-0 Won 2
  Huston-Tillotson 4-9 .308 4-13 .235 7.5 4-4 0-9 0-0 Lost 6
  SW Assemblies of God 3-9 .250 6-12 .333 8.0 4-4 2-7 0-1 Won 1
  St. Thomas - Houston 3-9 .250 5-12 .294 8.0 4-6 1-6 0-0 Lost 8
  Paul Quinn 3-9 .250 4-14 .222 8.0 4-4 0-10 0-0 Lost 2
  Southwest 1-12 .077 6-13 .316 10.5 1-5 3-8 2-0 Lost 9 

RV - Receiving Votes in the NAIA Coaches Top 25 Poll, but not enough to make the cut.

 

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