Lady Lions suffer first hoops loss
SAGU yields to speed and turnovers
Trip to NW Arkansas set for the weekend
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- While all computers wait at the same speed, the same cannot be said of the pace of basketball teams.
Playing at the warp speed desired of teams who utilize “the system,” created by Grinnell College coach David Arseneault, the Oklahoma Christian University zoomed past Southwestern Assemblies of God University, 86-58, on Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Lions actually shot a better percentage than Oklahoma Christian (3-0), but the Lady Eagles countered by taking 33 more shots. The impact of their pressure defense, three-point shooting and rebounds on the offensive end of the court allowed OCU to cruise to victory.
The newly installed system at OCU by Coach Stephanie Findley mirrors the high-velocity style at Iowa’s Grinnell College (NCAA Division II). It incorporates a continual full-court press, fast-paced offense with an emphasis on offensive rebounding, a barrage of three-point shots and substitutions of five players every 35 to 40 seconds.
The idea is fire a shot within 12 seconds of possession. The impact can be a blur. In their season opener against Texas Wesleyan University, the Lady Eagles hit their first four shots, all beyond the arc, en route to 68 first half points. They finished with 110. They poured in 87 against LSU-Shreveport on Friday. They will face RRAC powerhouse, Langston University (Ok), on November 15.
The system has allowed the Grinnell Pioneers to lead all playing levels in scoring for 15 of the past 17 years while contending and winning numerous conference championships. Criticized for not teaching the fundamentals of defense, the effects leave opponents gasping for breath and asking witnesses for the number of that truck.
In suffering their first loss of the season, SAGU (3-1) had their moments. After baskets by Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JuCo, Lakeview Centennial HS) and Gabby Bruner (Peaster, Tx / Peaster HS) knotted the score at 6-6, they soon found themselves behind. Six minutes later the Eagles had a 29-9 advantage.
Beating the press, the Lions went on a 16-7 run. Courtney Bolding (Austin, Tx / Howard Payne Univ, Akins), Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS) and Drea Lugo (San Antonio, Tx / Somerset HS) scored four apiece as they drew to within 36-25 with 4:07 remaining in the first half. They would get no closer.
After trailing at the break, 45-29, the Purple Pride fought to maneuver through the minefield of the OCU press. Consecutive Rodriguez triples, one on a sweet dish by Bruner, sliced the deficit to eleven again at 46-35. Fifty-four seconds and three turnovers later, OCU had drained a trio of threes for a 55-36 margin.
The Eagles scored the game’s final seven points for their largest lead of the afternoon.
They played 14 players, twelve of them receiving ten minutes or more in playing time. No one had more than 18 minutes. While SAGU held them to 33% shooting (28 of 87), the advantage of an additional 33 more attempts did in the Lady Lions (18 of 54, 34%). The reasons were 25 offensive rebounds and 51 turnovers coerced by their pressure. OCU also connected on 17 of their 50 tries beyond the arc.
Southwestern held their own on defense, forcing 35 turnovers. Winston led with five steals.
Most impressive was the team’s effort on the glass. They were able to stay in the game by grabbing 47 boards, compared to the taller Eagles’ share at 50.
Bruner, who is known for stepping up her performance against tougher opposition, was at it again. The 5-foot-9 senior snatched a game-high 12 rebounds, made three steals and hit 4-of-8 shots while scoring nine points.
Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS) was next with 10 boards. Playing less than 18 minutes, she racked up four blocked shots to take over the national lead in the category with 24 in four games.
Rodriguez led SAGU in scoring with a dozen points, nine caroms and three assists. Winston had eight points and three helpers, while Lugo also netted eight points. Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS) tossed in seven and snared six boards in 13 minutes.
Upcoming SAGU Games
The Lady Lions return to action next weekend when they participate in the John Brown Classic in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. SAGU will face the College of the Ozarks (Mo) on Friday at 6:00pm. The Lady Bobcats are 4-0. Southwestern will then take on the host, JBU (1-2), at 3:00pm on Saturday. The Golden Eagles have dropped two games by less than seven points.
SAGU’s next home game will tip off their 24-game slate against foes from the Red River Athletic Conference. Their league opener is against Huston-Tillotson University, of Austin, Texas. The contest is set for Wednesday, November 30, at 5:30pm.
By the Numbers: Current Stat Leaders
Through four games, SAGU is averaging 62.5 points per game and allow 49.2.
Individually, Winston nets 14.5 ppg, followed by Rodriguez at 8.7, Lugo 7.5, Bruner 7.5 and Bolding at 7.2 On the boards, Roberts and Bruner average 9.7 and 8.7 caroms per game, with Rodriguez at 4.7, Hankins with 4.5 and Winston getting 3.0 per outing.
Rodriguez and Winston, both guards, have registered 2.7 assists. Winston leads in steals, pilfering 4.0 per contest. Lugo is at 3.5 and Rodriguez at 2.7.
Complete player totals are available on the RRAC website.
Southwestern home games are webcasted in the form of Livestats , a textual play-by-play and up to the minute team and player statistical totals. Directions for accessing this free service can be gained by locating the team schedule on the NAIA website, then clicking on the ((W)) icon.
SAGU SPORTS Live will broadcast all home games in HD beginning in January.
Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, Sports Information Director, at
or at 469-658-2847.