Miscues shortcircuit Lady Lions
SAGU loses lead in final 1:46
Nation's #3 ranked defense negated by 34 turnovers
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s basketball team lost a lead they held for most of the game in a 69-62 setback at the hands of New Mexico’s University of the Southwest on Monday night at the Sheaffer Center.
The Lady Lions lost their fifth consecutive game to drop to 3-5 overall and are 0-2 in the Red River Athletic Conference. USW improved to 6-4 in all games and 1-3 in league play.
It was similar script as in recent games for SAGU, who controlled the game by outshooting the Mustangs as well as dominating the game on the boards. The cumulative effect of turnovers was too much in the end.
On Monday they made over 47% of their shots while limiting the Lady Mustangs to 37%. Meanwhile, SAGU owned a decided 40-26 edge on the glass. The difference was in coughing the ball up 34 times in a sloppy contest in which Southwest outlasted Southwestern. The Mustangs made 21 turnovers themselves.
SAGU led at the half, 33-30, and stretched their upper-hand to 41-32 on a Sascha Lewis (Lufkin, Tx / Hudson HS) bucket.
The Lady Lions went up by as many six points in the first half (28-22) and still were on top 53-45 with 9:03 to play on a three-pointer by Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JC, Lakeview Centennial HS).
In the remaining minutes the Mustangs capitalized on nine SAGU turnovers and 3-of-9 shooting down the stretch. The Lady Lions also hindered their chances by making just 3-of-8 free throws. Meanwhile USW knocked down 11-of-14 tries from the charity stripe to post their first conference win.
Senior guard Melody Borjas proved herself in the clutch for USW. After Simone Buckhanan was fouled on a breakaway and converted the ensuing two foul shots to draw to within one point, Borjas (BOR-hahs) took over.
The Ponies then cashed in on SAGU’s 32nd turnover. The diminutive, 5’3 Borjas grabbed a rebound and was fouled in the paint. When she stroked two free throws with 1:46 remaining USW had their first lead, 63-62, since 15-14 midway in the first half. They would protect it.
SAGU had two golden chances to take it back but squandered them both. Team Purple missed a pair of critical foul shots at 1:32. Gabby Bruner (Peaster, Tx / Peaster HS), a senior forward, stole an entry pass in the lane to set up another opportunity.
During that possession the Lions were called for a turnover when a guard inadvertently had the ball go off of her shoe at 1:05.
Borjas made them pay.
Buckhanan, her backcourt partner, spotted Borjas open on the wing. From there she drained a 3-ball (0:42) dagger for a 66-62 advantage.
The Lions missed a triple, got the rebound, and lost the ball when Borjas picked off an errant pass. She iced the game with a pair from the line with twenty-seven ticks on the clock.
The loss snapped SAGU's four-game winning streak against the Phillies, whom they owned a 5-1 mastery over in recent years.
SAGU defense among the nation's best
On Saturday the Lady Lions silenced Bacone College shooters, holding them to 26% accuracy, as well as crushing them on the boards, 43-27. But 24 turnovers short-circuited the team, allowing the Warriors to come from behind in the closing moments to steal the game, 46-44.
The Lady Lions are averaging 24.5 turnovers per game, much of them by a young backcourt.
Mistakes are negating a defense that currently ranks #3 in the nation in field goal defense. Opponents can make only 31% of their shots, which is on pace to equal the school record set three years ago when SAGU allowed just 30% during a 25-8 campaign.
Game-high 19-points by Winston
Winston, a sophomore point guard, led all scorers with 19-points. She netted a triple and had four assists and four rebounds.
Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS) had a monster game inside. The junior ripped down 18 rebounds and scored 12 on five-of-nine shooting. She blocked two more shots to give her 29 for the season. That ranks her #2 in the NAIA, averaging 4.8 per outing.
Freshman Cordia Harvatin (San Antonio, Tx / Stacey HS) came off the bench to toss in nine-points in just six minutes. She swished 4-of-5 shots, including a trey.
Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS) had six points and eight boards while Bruner finished with six and six.
Two Road Games prior to Christmas
SAGU has two pre-holiday games remaining. This Saturday they travel to Austin to face Huston-Tillotson University (1-5, 1-3 RRAC) before closing in San Antonio on Monday. Team Lioness will take on Our Lady of the Lake University (6-2, 3-1 RRAC).
Both tilts start with a 5:30 opening tip.
Courtney Bolding (Austin, Tx / Howard Payne Univ, Akins HS), a 6-foot senior center is no longer with the program. She will transfer to Tarleton State University for the spring semester. She averaged 5.5 points per game and 2.5 rebounds in six games this season.
Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) is expected to fill that void. The 6'1 freshman just completed her second season on the SAGU volleyball team in which she was third on the team in kills during the regular season.
She warmed up and dressed for Coach Arlon Beadles' team on Monday night. She is a former All-District player for Class 5A Lufkin where she made her mark as a power rebounder.
or at 469-658-2847.