SAGU takes on Hillsdale College tonight

Rodriguez, Bruner lead squad into the 2011-12 season

MOORE, Oklahoma -- The 2011-12 college basketball season will be officially underway tonight in a suburb of Oklahoma City when the Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s team takes on Hillsdale College. The 6:00pm tip-off will be the season opener for both teams.

The teams met a year ago in Waxahachie when the Lady Lions came away with a 79-49 triumph. They shot 50% from the court in building a 41-14 halftime lead. Four players scored in double figures, led by Chelsea Jones 16. Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS), who will move to guard this season, added 14.

Gabby Bruner  (Peaster, Tx / Peaster HS), pressed into playing center last winter, managed another workmanlike effort with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Heather Jefferson tossed in 10, while Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS) contributed seven points.

Veteran head coach Arlon Beadles enters his seventh season at Southwestern seeking a fourth straight winning season. The previous three teams have won 23 or more games.

The Lady Lions finished fourth in the 12-team Red River Athletic Conference last season at 23-13 overall and 15-7 against the league. In the post season tournament they defeated Bacone College (19-9), 63-53, before losing to Langston University (28-5) 58-53 in the semi-finals.

In the National Christian College Athletic Association tournament, the team advanced to nationals. They topped King College (Tenn) 74-63 before losing to Roberts Wesleyan (NY) 66-51 in the semi’s. In the 3rd Place Consolation game, Team Lioness rolled past Emmanuel College (Ga) by a 57-46 count.

Coach Beadles announced the probable line-up includes Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JuCo, Lakeview Centennial HS) at point guard, Andrea Lugo (San Antonio, Tx / Somerset HS) at the two-guard, and Rodriguez at the three-guard. Bruner moves to forward while a fully-recovered Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS) is at center. In her pre-injury season she was second in the NAIA in blocked shots with 99.

Roberts could be the X-factor for this year’s team. If not, it could be Cordia Harvatin (San Antonio, Tx / Stacey HS), a catalyst at guard, who could be the difference-maker coming off the bench.

Rodriguez is the top returning scorer after the graduation of Jones, Stephanie Hawkins and Jefferson. She averaged 8.03 points per game last season. Bruner led the squad on the boards, grabbing a blue-collar-like 6.9 rebounds per outing. Hankins is the top free throw shooter from 2010-11, when she wristed a .744 percent of her attempts.

Lady Lions first home game on Monday

The team makes their home debut on Monday, November 7, when they host Dallas Christian College. The game is slated for a 7:00pm tipoff.

The annual SAGU Classic is Nov. 11-12, when the Lady Lions play Crowley’s Ridge College (Ark) on Friday at 7:30pm and Oklahoma Christian University at 3:30pm on Saturday.

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.