SAGU hosts LSU-Shreveport tonight
Lady Lions take on No. 17 Lady Pilots
Men's game will be a clash of offense vs defense
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University hosts their final home game in 2012 on Thursday night when Louisiana State University in Shreveport comes to town for a pair of college basketball contests.
The Lady Lions (4-7 overall, 1-4 in RRAC) will have their hands full with LSUS (8-1, 3-0) at 5:30pm. The Lady Pilots are ranked No. 17 in this week’s NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll.
They are riding a five-game win string since suffering their only loss, 46-45, on November 19 in New Orleans against No. 9 Xavier University (7-1).
SAGU has dropped three of four since the loss of Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JC, Lakeview Centennial HS) for the season.
The Lady Lions are redesigning their attack around freshmen and sophomores in the backcourt. While they are discovering a number of positives in the process, they are also learning what Kermit the Frog once said is true; “It’s not easy being green.”
Guards Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) and Okievia Bratchett (Center, Tx / Tenaha HS) along with forwards Cordia Harvatin (San Antonio, Tx / Stacey HS) and Jessica Sodich (Arlington, Tx / Ovilla Christian) are emerging and the team’s offense is more than holding its own.
Hill has averaged 19 ppg in the past three outings, knocking down 10 triples and 10 of 13 free throws.
Bratchett, a cat-quick sophomore, is netting 9.3 over the last six games. As a frosh last season, the mercurial one averaged 3.4.
Harvatin (pictured on the right) is scoring at a 9.2 ppg pace over the past five games, already matching in 11 games what she scored in 30 last winter.
The River Pilots are seasoned hands in comparison.
Forward Sharde (SHAR-day) Henry and guard Christy Willis, both seniors, lead three upperclassmen in double figures. Henry pours in 16.4 ppg, while Willis and junior forward Jenna Diakos have 14.3 and 14.0 scoring norms.
Their 70.2 scoring average rates No. 39, but it is their defense this season that the opposition is finding a steep climb to get over. Yielding just 50.7 ppg takes a lot of pressure off of their shooters.
LSUS has won three meetings since SAGU won in the Sheaffer Center two years ago, 72-69.
Men’s Preview: Parade of Scorers vs. Defensive Raiders
It will be a clash of strengths when the Pilots (6-2, 2-1) invade the Lions (9-2, 4-1) den at 7:30pm.
LSUS may not be as deep as in previous years, but this year’s unit makes up for it with offensive punch. They rank No. 3 in scoring; pumping in 91.9 per game, with transfer guard Rodney Milum leading the nation with a 27.6 ppg avg.
A senior from Appalachian State University (NC), Milum is making 49% of his shots, including 48% from long distance. Foul him at your peril, where he is converting over 86% from the line.
Supporting him are 6’6 forward Isaac Reid, 6’2 point guard Mark Politte and 6’5 forward Rydell Harris. They tote scoring averages of 16.3, 13.0 and 11.4 respectively.
As a team the Pilots are firing at an outstanding 53% accuracy, ranking No. 3 in the NAIA.
SAGU has overcome a slower than desired shooting touch by crashing the boards, playing an all-out brand of man-to-man defense and uncaging wave after wave of fresh players.
They do more than bring Windex to wipe the glass clean. The squad takes great pride in taking charges and making steals – all to win more possessions than their opponents.
SAGU’s shooters have made good on just 39% of their attempts, ranking No. 96. That alone will tell you how carnivorous they are at doing the dirty work of getting rebounds, especially on offense.
Their athleticism is a huge asset. Plus, activating Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ. of N. Texas, Connally HS) on Saturday has added a huge boost to the team’s morale and energy.
SAGU ranks No. 9 in rebounding margin, aided by 17.2 caroms per game on offense, rating third best in the nation.
The team’s scoring defense is No. 21 (65.4 ppg), fueled by defenders who permit the enemy to make just 36% of their tries. That’s No. 3 in the NAIA.
Fans can expect an obvious plot: No. 3 rated offense (LSUS) versus SAGU’s No. 3 rated defense.
A year ago the team’s split two games, with home court prevailing.
The Lions offense is keyed around protagonist Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ., Trinity Christian School). He leads a balanced group with 15.8 per game. Add to that, his 2.9 steals per game is sixth best in the NAIA.
A complete report, along with photos and box scores, will be posted later tonight.