Bruner shines in loss to Lady Rams
SAGU outboards Wesleyan in 56-35 setback
Team Lioness hosts OLLU on Saturday evening
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Texas Wesleyan University used a 15-4 run to break open a competitive game and went on to post a 56-35 victory over the host Southwestern Assemblies of God University (9-13, 6-11 in RRAC) on Thursday evening.
The Lady Lions held their own against the fourth place team in the Red River Athletic Conference into the early stages of the second half. The opening twenty-minutes was a defensive battle by both teams.
SAGU led 7-6 after seven minutes when Andrea Lugo (San Antonio, Tx / Somerset HS) assisted a 3-ball by Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JuCo, Lakeview Centennial HS).
Texas Wesleyan cashed in a pair of turnovers into easy buckets and a 12-7 lead at the midway mark. By the time Team Lioness scored again, on an Okevia Bratchett (Center, Tx / Tenaha HS) inside feed to Gabby Bruner (Peaster, Tx / Peaster HS) only 4:21 remained in the half. It ended a scoreless stretch of 9:25.
The squad’s zone defense stretched and was effective in keeping the Rams shooters under-wraps.
Bruner, a dependable senior performer, continued her solid play against the Lady Ewes. She converted a Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS) assist into the low block and Bratchett stroked a pair of free throws at 2:17. SAGU trailed just 17-13. By intermission they were down, 21-13, though they had made only 5-of-27 shots.
Team Purp stayed in the game by forcing nine turnovers and winning the boards, 14-11.
The Wesleyan Women had the upper hand at 29-17 after another Bruner deuce on a Winston dime at 16:05. That’s when the Rams began to assert themselves on offense, distributing the ball for better shots.
Audrianna Simpson and Raven Smith sparked a surge by the navy-clad Rams that reached 44-20 at 8:59. Smith netted 10 points and Simpson scored a career high nine points off the bench to lead the Rams reserves in outscoring their Lady Lion counterparts, 26-6. The duo combined to make 7-of-9 shots.
“We struggled with their zone,” said Wesleyan head coach Bill Franey. “They expanded it and forced us into taking shots we weren’t comfortable with. But in the second half we got after it.”
TWU, now 18-5 overall and 13-4 in the RRAC, average 71 points per game. They finally got it going after halftime, sinking half of their 24 shots and 9-of-11 free throws to seize control of the game.
“SAGU is young and they have made strides since we played in early January,” Franey continued. “We have a big edge in terms of experience this season. We have 11 upper-classmen, and they played well enough for us to be able play a number of combinations.”
Wesleyan has the distinction of sweeping Langston University (22-2, 16-2 RRAC). Their nemesis has been LSU-Shreveport (18-6, 16-2 RRAC). The Lady Pilots have swept the Rams this season, both games going to overtime.
The Lady Lions, with three upper-classmen finished the game with a 25-24 edge on the boards, 12-5 on the offensive glass. It translated into getting ten more shots than Wesleyan (56-46). The Lions struggled to make layups and jumpers in the lane in a game that saw them shoot 23% (13-56), well below their season average (36%). Credit much of that to an aggressive defensive scheme by Wesleyan.
Bruner led the Pride with 10 points, while ripping down six boards. She also had a game-high five steals. Winston, a sophomore guard, tossed in eight-points, including a pair of triples. Freshman guard Cordia Harvatin (San Antonio, Tx / Stacey HS) added five points (2-of-5 with a three-ball) in eleven minutes.
Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS) reeled in a game-best seven rebounds, blocked two shots and totaled four points.
Lady Lions Upcoming Schedule
SAGU returns to action on Saturday when Our Lady of the Lake University (19-5, 14-4 in RRAC) visits the Sheaffer Center. Tip-off is set for 5:30pm The Lady Halos rolled to an 83-58 win over Southwestern on December 12. They are 8-4 on the road.
The Saints lead the league in scoring at 86 ppg. They have eclipsed the century mark five times this season, including four of the past seven games.
SAGU will be on the road on Monday and Thursday of next week, February 13 and 16, travelling to play Langston University and Jarvis Christian College. They return home on Saturday, Feb. 18, to host LSU-Shreveport. Each game begins at 5:30pm.