Lady Lions stumble on the road, 46-44
Turnovers negate SAGU's superior effort
BC held to 26% shooting; Bruner, Roberts dominate
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University allowed Bacone College only twelve baskets while holding the Warriors to 26% shooting as well as dominating the boards. That combination is generally the recipe for victory. On Saturday night it wasn't enough as the host Warriors rallied for a 46-44 triumph in the conference opener for both teams.
The Lady Lions controlled the game with their revered zone defense and ruled both the lane and the glass with baseline players who held Bacone in check from the outset. SAGU, however, coughed the ball up 24 times and lost the game on the foul line where the hosts had a 27-9 advantage in free throws attempted.
Southwestern led until the final minutes. The Lions went up 38-37 when Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS) powered in an offensive putback with 6:56 on the clock. Sophomore guard Noelani Gi swished a pair from the charity stripe, then parlayed a SAGU turnover into a bucket for a 41-38 upper-hand at 4:24.
Emily Lovell, a 5'11 forward, blocked a SAGU shot, was fouled and netted a pair of free throws for Bacone's largest lead, 43-38, with 4:03 to go. The Warriors missed their final three shots and lost possession on two turnovers. Guards Dametria Dawson and Danielle Jackson combined to hit 3-of-4 from the line for their final points.
Bacone (BAY-kone) won their fifth straight, improving their mark to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in the Red River Athletic Conference. Last year they posted a 19-10 mark, but lost three meetings to SAGU, all by eight-points or less.
In fact, the win snapped an 8-game losing skid against Southwestern for head coach Robbie Shay. Shay played for SAGU in the 1990's and coached the Lady Lions to their first-ever winning season. Their last triumph over SAGU, also at home, was a 64-60 win in January of 2008.
The Lady Lions (3-4, 0-1 in RRAC), who have dropped four straight, missed two three-pointers in the closing seconds.
Southwestern had the lead from the start, jumping to an 8-0 lead and extending it to 17-8 on a pair of Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial HS) free throws with 9:54 left in the first half. Guards Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS) drained an early 3-ball and Drea Lugo (San Antonio, Tx / Somerset HS) scored to lead the offensive charge.
By the half SAGU still owned a 24-16 lead, but could’ve been in command. They had complete control of the rebounds, 29-10, and allowed Bacone to connect on just 3-of-26 shots (11%). But the Lady Lions were missing open looks and turned the ball over 17 times.
Behind the stellar play of senior forward Gabby Bruner (Peaster, Tx / Peaster HS) and junior center Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS), they maintained the lead until the final six minutes.
“We rebounded the basketball very well,” said assistant coach Ryan Russell. “When you grab a 43-27 share of the boards and shutdown the opponents shooting, you shouldn’t lose. But our turnovers caught up to us in the end.”
“Plus,” he added, “we couldn’t make perimeter shots nor could we be buy a foul.”
True. When Rodriguez stroked a field goal (12:51 to go) for a 34-29 lead. The backcourt would miss their next 11 shots until Winston stole the ball and went the distance for a layup with just 0:47 remaining. BC, who took the lead for good at 39-38 with 5:58 on the clock, was clinging to a 45-44 lead at the time.
The Lions forced a missed shot by the Warriors for a chance to regain the lead. It would not happen.
Bacone contested Southwestern’s attempt to get an open shot. Lugo missed a triple and BC got the rebound, was fouled , and split a pair of free throws. SAGU’s final chance went awry when Rodriguez misfired from outside the arc as the game ended.
The Purple Pride were on-target in 19 of their 53 shots (35%), though Bruner and Roberts united to hit 13-of-20. The rest of the team was 6-of-33 (18%). SAGU made one three-pointer in 17 tries and were 5-of-9 on the foul line, 0-2 after halftime.
The strongest part of their game was their lions' share of the rebounds, 43-27, including 13-8 on the offensive boards. SAGU held a 9-2 edge in second-chance points, a testament to their interior dominance.
Individually, Bruner led with a double-double. Known for playing big against the tougher teams, she made 7-of-10 shots for a game-high 16-points. She also grabbed 10 rebounds and made a steal in 38 minutes.
Bruner (BREW-ner) leads the Lions in rebounds at 7.2 per outing. The junior knocked down 2-of-3 FT's and committed a lone turnover.
Roberts, a 6-foot-1 junior, scored 12 (6-of-10), ripped down eight boards (four offfensive), and swatted three shots.
Rodriguez and Winston accounted for seven and five points while registering five and six rebounds respectively. Winston continues to be the top point producer at 12 per game.
The Lady Lions young bench made 1-of-5 shots, five fouls and four turnovers.
Stat factors for Okies from Muskogee
Southwestern's 3-2 zone stifled the Warriors, who were averaging 75 points per game. BC finished 12-of-46 from the field, including just 2-of-14 from beyond the arc. Their saving grace was connecting on 20-of-27 foul shots. Cortney Warren led them in scoring with nine points, all in the second half.
The Tribe made two more turnovers than baskets and were called for only 12 fouls. Their bench, however, was a big factor, outscoring SAGU 15-2.
Home game on Monday for Lady Lions
Southwestern returns to the court on Monday, December 5, when they welcome University of the Southwest to the Sheaffer Center. The Lady Mustangs, 5-3 overall and 0-2 in league action, lead the Red River in scoring at 84 ppg. Three players average in double-figures, led by Simone Buckhanan at 16.5. Tipoff is at 5:30pm.