Lady Lions sink in 58-47 loss
SAGU outlasted by #17 LSU-S
Solid defensive effort undone by turnovers
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- A talented LSU-Shreveport women’s basketball team held off an enthused Southwestern Assemblies of God University team, 58-47, Thursday night at the Sheaffer Center.
The No. 17 ranked Lady Pilots (9-1, 4-0 in RRAC) won their sixth consecutive game while SAGU (4-8, 1-5) dropped their third in a row.
The Lady Lions made LSUS work for the victory by frustrating them with a zone defense that limited the guests to 31% (19 of 61) shooting accuracy. They were averaging over 70 points a game with a margin of victory of 20+ points prior to facing Southwestern.
What did in a young Lioness squad were their own turnovers (25), too many of them unforced.
While converting 33% (16 of 48), the mistakes gift-wrapped extra possessions for the River Runners, who were able to take 13 more shots than the hosts.
The miscues prevented them from sustaining rallies as LSUS were able to control the lead, even with limited efficiency.
The Lady Pilots cashed in on a pair of turnovers in the final minute of the first half to extend a 26-23 advantage to 31-23 at the half.
Fifteen second half turnovers, seven by SAGU guards, eight by forwards, thwarted the Purple Pride. SAGU spent the duration staying within striking distance of 8-to-12 points, but never seriously threatening.
The closest the Lady Lions came was at 31-26, when Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS) completed a three-point play.
They drew to within eight on four occasions (38-30, 40-32, 42-34, 52-44) only to fall behind by 10-12 points. LSUS built their largest lead at 14 (48-34) with 9:45 remaining.
Displaying a never-say-die heart, the Lady Lions went on a 13-6 run to trail, 54-47, at the 1:08 mark.
Lady Lions show 'No Quit'
The run started when Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) saved a ball from going out of bounds, pivoted, and spotted Hankins on the baseline for a 12-foot jumper (7:53). Before SAGU could score again, they committed four straight turnovers.
Freshman forward Jessica Sodich (Arlington, Tx / Ovilla Christian) made a steal which led to her own three-point bomb, slicing the deficit to 49-39 with just 4:25 on the clock, a gap of three and one-half minutes.
Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) added a pair of free throws and then angled down the lane for a layup, was fouled, and completed a three-point play at the 2:46 mark. SAGU trailed 52-44.
After Hill missed the front end of a one-and-one at 2:15, LSUS milked the clock without getting off a shot. That led to a well-executed play in which Hill sent a pass to Sodich at the top of the key.
There, the freshman flyer drained a trifecta, her fourth in the game, to come to within 54-47. The missed opportunities earlier loomed large as the game clock was no ally.
The Lady Pilots iced the game with an offensive putback and two foul shots.
SAGU can hang a hat on their defensive effort in the second half. They held LSUS to shooting just 26% from the field while finding the range for 41% of their own shots.
The Lady Pilots countered by tossing in 9-of-10 second half free throws while controlling the boards, 37-29, 15-8 on the offensive glass.
Hill and Sodich led the Lady Lions with 16 and 13 points respectively. Hill had three assists and two turnovers, while Sodich finished with a season-high four treys and eight rebounds.
Hankins netted nine points in 17 minutes, while Cox added two points and eight boards. Both were sidelined with minor physical setbacks before returning to play. In their stead, SAGU received no offense from other forwards.
LSUS Coach: Mad about Maddox
Lost in the fray may have been the play of LSU-Shreveport’s Brittany Maddox, a 5’7 sophomore guard. She came off the bench to lead all scorers with 17 points in 16 minutes.
Everytime they were in need, presto, Maddox. Like a cued hero, she had her team covered. Her name may as well been Justin Time.
After sparking the Lady Pilots with 11 first half points, it was back-to-back triples, one from the right wing, the next from the corner, that opened up their 48-34 lead.
Her stickback in the last minute capped the victory for the guests.
She connected on 6-of-10 shots, doing her damage by going 5-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Maddox had been silent all season until a week ago. The reserve lit up NCAA D3’s Centenary College with 15 points with five trifectas. It was a prelude to Thursday.
“We were flat and played uninspired tonight, “admitted Ronnie Howell, now in his 10th year as Head Coach of the Pilots. “So it was great to get a good lift off the bench from Brittany.”
“We played okay in spurts tonight,” he added. “I told my team before we came over that, although they (SAGU) may not be as talented as some teams we play, they will play with alot of passion and poise. What hurt them (SAGU) was a few of their turnovers.”
“Sodich hit some big shots and Hill played tough,” Howell continued.
“We were just able to knock down enough shots against their zone to win on the road. Those are seldom easy, and will demand more of you than you have to give at home.”
It was the Lady Pilots fourth straight in the series with the Lady Lions.
They received 13 points and four steals from senior forward Sharde (SHAR-day) Henry, who labored through a 4-of-11 night from the field.
Christy Willis, another senior, netted 12 in a game in which she battled to sink 4-of-13 shots.
Team Purp’s zone permitted the Pilots starters to swish just 12 out of 42attempts, a 28% success rate that could have made LSUS beatable if not for the turnovers by the home team.
The LSUS defense performed well also. They allowed the Lady Lions starters to make 10 of 35, also 28%, while forcing a combined 17 turnovers from that quintet.
Credit the Pilots for squeezing Okievia Bratchett (Center, Tx / Tenaha HS). That is no small task. The elusive one had been scoring 10 points per game. Her scoreless night was her first of the season.
Lady Lions look for road kill
Southwestern has two more games, both on the road, before breaking for the holidays.
On Friday they will trek 415 miles due west to Hobbs, New Mexico. On Saturday they will go up against the University of the Southwest (4-9, 1-4 in RRAC) at 3:00pm (CST).
The Lady Mustangs, who were routed by Texas Wesleyan University on Thursday, 95-57, took both games last season from SAGU.
The Hobbs Squad won, 69-62, in Waxahachie, then eked out a 73-72 triumph at home. They are scoring 69 points and surrender 83 to opponents. SAGU averages 60 while allowing 63.
Next Monday, December 17, the Lady Lions will face Wesleyan (8-2, 4-1 in RRAC) at Ft. Worth’s Sid Richardson Center.
The Lady Ewes, averaging 73 ppg, third best in the Red River Athletic Conference, have three players scoring twelve or more points per contest.
The game will begin with a 5:30pm opening tip.