Coach Beadles answers a Take 5
Building blocks falling into place
Lady Lions in search of wins in South Texas
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s basketball team, after three straight seasons of at least 23 wins, are building something good again.
Veteran head coach Arlon Beadles and the Lady Lions are going through some growing pains with three or four new starters, including the entire backcourt. However, the mainstays of a solid program remain; defense and rebounding.
Coach Beadles is building around that core - defense and rebounding - bolstered by a pair of stalwarts on the interior in junior Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS) and senior Gabby Bruner (Peaster, Tx / Peaster HS). Roberts is #11 in the nation in rebounding, clutching 10.7 per game, while Bruner is #50 at 8.0 per.
In the very tough Red River Athletic Conference, Roberts is #3 in boards, Bruner at #8.
In blocking shots, Roberts is swatting 4.57 per outing, which is #2 in the NAIA and #1 in the RRAC. Bruner is #11 and sophomore Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS) is #13 in the RRAC in rejecting shots.
Offensively, most of the statistics lean heavily in favor of sophomore transfer Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JC, Lakeview Centennial). She is scoring 12.2 ppg, rating #17 in the league. Winston comes in at #8 in three point shooting percentage (.342) and is hitting .639 (23-of-36) of her free throws (#16). She also ranks in three’s per game (#12 at 1.63 pg), steals (#4 at 3.13) and assists (#11 at 2.88).
Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS), a sophomore shooting guard, ranks #17 in both threes per game (1.13) and assists (2.63), while while sophomore wing ‘Drea Lugo (San Antonio, Tx / Somerset HS) makes 2.25 steals per game, which puts her at #10.
Prior to the team’s Saturday morning departure for the state capital to face the Lady Rams, Coach Beadles answered a round of five questions and a bonus query.
Q1) Meshing in a number of new players and new starters takes time to iron out the wrinkles. How is the team doing in regards to this process?
AB: The team is working very hard. Our chemistry is still not there, and our roles are not defined yet in terms of how they work together.
Q2) Turnovers have hindered the team at times this season. What is being done to reduce them?
AB: We do daily drills to improve our ballhandling skills. We’re addressing strategies and player combinations as well as stressing mental toughness every day.
Q3) The team is the best in the RRAC in scoring defense, field goal defense and is second in allowing the least number of rebounds to opponents. What are the strengths to this defense?
AB: Our size and quickness makes us difficult to score against. It's turnovers that are hindering us.
Q4) Having a healthy Shaquita Roberts must be a relief to the team. How does she impact the game?
AB: She is a great rebounder and has incredible timing when blocking shots.
Q5) Nia (NEE-yah) Winston has been very steady at point guard. What does she bring to the game?
AB: Nia is a very quick. She also has the ability to go strong to the basket (on drives).
BONUS Q: The team has three straight road games. What is the trick to succeeding when playing away from home? Also, what is the Lady Lions’ favorite restaurant when traveling?
AB: There aren’t any superstitions to winning on the road. You simply must be able to “get off the bus and play.”
It’s a mentality of “us against everyone.” Mental toughness is the key to winning on the road.
As for the ladies favorite place to eat, it’s Subway.
The Lady Lions (3-5, 0-2 in RRAC) have two games this weekend, both along the I-35 corridor. Saturday in Austin, they will take on Huston-Tillotson University (1-5, 1-3 RRAC) at 5:30pm. SAGU has won the last six in the series after dropping the previous five.
Monday night at the same time, SAGU goes up against Our Lady of the Lake University (6-2, 3-1 RRAC) in San Antonio. The Lady Saints swept both games last winter and carry a three-game win streak against Team Lioness.