Lady Rams cash in on mistakes, win 69-47
SAGU makes progress in setback
Brown, Bratchett break into starting line-up
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Sophomore guard Nia Winston and junior forward Shaquita Roberts combined for 23 points and gave the Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s basketball team a fighting chance on Thursday night at the Sid Richardson Center. It was not enough, however, to avoid a 69-47 loss at the hands of Texas Wesleyan University.
The Lady Lions dropped their eighth in a row to fall to 3-8 in all games. They are 0-5 in games against the Red River Athletic Conference. Wesleyan, with a four-game win streak, improved their mark to 9-2 overall and 4-1 in the RRAC.
The Rams have a 13-10 lead in the series and extended their flow of consecutive home victories to 20. Their last defeat in Cowtown came last year, 59-56, to SAGU. They went on to finish 28-6 while the Lady Lions were 23-13.
With outcomes usually in the single digits in this rivalry, the last time the margin was in double figures came in 2010 and 2009 during SAGU wins of 61-44 and 51-41. The most recent triumph by ten or more by Wesleyan women came back in the 2007-08 campaign in an 81-71 win. All three contests were in Ft. Worth. Thursday night’s 22-point blitz evened the recent series at 3-3.
Pair of scoring blitzes swing favor towards Wesleyan
Two key runs set the stage for the Lady Rams win, one in each half.
Okievia Bratchett (Center, Tx / Tenaha HS) scored on a layup and Tina Brown (New Braunfels, Tx / Lifegate Christian) set up a Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Steele HS) jumper for a 9-8 SAGU lead with 14:01 left in the half.
The Rams bounced back with an 11-1 surge for a lead they would never relinquish at 19-10. Brittany White, their All-American senior, scored seven straight on three layups, twice following SAGU backcourt turnovers. She had 10 at the break when the Lady Ewes built a 30-19 advantage.
SAGU’s Achilles’ heel, guard giveaways, reached 15 by the break. It offset the team’s 20-16 mastery on the boards.
The Lions cut their deficit to 36-28 at 16:25 to play on lay-ins by Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JuCo, Lakeview Centennial HS) and ‘Drea Lugo (San Antonio, Tx / Somerset HS), a 3-ball by Winston and a Roberts eight-footer. They would get no closer.
Back-to-back triples from Raven Alexander and Courtney Turner, both off the bench, capped a 17-5 rush and a 53-33 grip on the scoreboard. During that stretch of 6:38 the Purple Pride went 1-of-9 from the floor and committed three turnovers.
“We moved the ball better and battled them evenly in rebounds,” said SAGU head coach Arlon Beadles after the game. “The big difference was in ballhandling and in steals.”
Each club had 38 rebounds. However, 23 turnovers allowed the Rams to seize control by cashing them in for 23 points. The Lady Lions have been averaging 24 through the first ten games. TWU’s 13 turnovers led to seven SAGU points.
SAGU held a 14-13 edge on the offensive glass, though they converted them into just six second-chance points.
Most frustrating were a number of unforced mistakes, missed layups and going 9-of-16 on the foul line. Against a veteran squad, it proved too much to overcome.
“Shaq rebounded well,” Beadles said of the junior center. “Jirah (Rodriguez; Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS) and Nia played well.” The coach also went with a switch in the starting line-up, adding Brown and Bratchett and played 11-deep off the bench.
“We’ve been stressing the need for taking care of the ball, and more effective teamwork,” he added. “We did show some improvement, and we will keep working together.”
Winston netted 15 points while Roberts racked up eight and grabbed six boards while blocking three shots. Brown tossed in six points and Gabby Bruner (Peaster, Tx / Peaster HS) snared seven caroms.
Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS), in her first action since joining the team after the volleyball season, had five rebounds in five minutes.
SAGU did manage to shackle the Rams’ top performer, 5-foot-9 senior Octavia Mullins. Their top scorer (12.5 ppg) and rebounder (13.1 rpg) was held in check with two and nine respectively. A number of her teammates more than made up the difference.
The Lady Lions shot 33% from the floor (17-of-52 overall, 4-of-16 of threes) while the Rams connected on 43% (27-of-62, 5-of-13 threes, 10-of-13 FT’s) of their tries.
White led TWU with a game-high 17. She made 7-of-8 shots, totaled four assists and five steals in a team-high 24 minutes. Raven Alexander, Kristi Alexander and Kayla McCray bucketed 13, 11 and 10 for head coach Bill Franey.
“I felt our team played well,” he said. “SAGU has been our biggest rival in my time here. The girls have been pointing to this game all year.”
“Coach Beadles always does a great job of confusing other teams with his defense and we worked long and hard to prepare to play against (his zone),” he continued.
“I loved the way our post players looked to pass out of the double teams, not worrying about their own statistics. They just kept getting the ball to an open player to help the team.”
As for facing their nemesis, SAGU, Coach Franey was full of praise.
“SAGU always scares me,” he confessed. “Coach Beadles is a great coach. His teams are always so well prepared and he always has them working together. They are young too. I have no doubt they will come together quickly. They play hard and the coach knows exactly how to bring them along. I am already nervous about our next game (Feb. 9) at SAGU.”
Langston Lions visit SAGU on Saturday
Southwestern will take on another big challenge, their third in a row, when they tangle with Langston University (12-0, 6-0 in RRAC) on Saturday evening at 5:30pm.
The game will be broadcast in high definition by SAGU SPORTS Live. Fans can access the free livestream by clicking on WATCH SAGU TV on the home page.
Clay Scarborough and Tim Roberts will bring the play-by-play and color commentary, starting with the pre-game show at 5:15pm.
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