Lady Lions stun Wiley, 63-59
Cats held 25-pts under their average
Roberts sensational during dramatic comeback
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS) capped an outstanding performance by scoring on an offensive rebound with 1:54 remaining to give the women’s basketball team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University the lead for good in a stunning 63-59 upset of Wiley College at the Sheaffer Center.
SAGU put the brakes on a 10-game losing streak by rallying from an eight-point, second half deficit while showing the toughness of a thirty cent steak.
The Wildcats, who entered the game with a 9-4 record, went on a 14-3 run to seemingly take control of the contest. Their 44-36 lead with 11:37 left in the contest appeared safe, especially since momentum was showing no signs of allowing a comeback.
The Lady Lions, however, who have averaged 24 wins a season over the past three years, still had a pulse. An undying pulse.
Behind the play of their two upper classmen, Roberts and senior Gabby Bruner (Peaster, Tx / Peaster HS), they came roaring back.
“I was really pleased with our mental toughness,” said veteran Head Coach Arlon Beadles. “The team’s ability to hang in there was inspiring. They hung in there while finding a way to win.”
Roberts was sensational! The six-foot junior led all scorers with 18 points. She made eight of ten shots and a pair of free throws on offense and latched on to 13 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass. She was credited with two steals and racked up six blocked shots, a category in which she leads the entire nation.
“Shaquita was great,” Beadles said in what may’ve been an understatement. “Gabby also hit the boards for big rebounds. We out rebounded them, 41- 25. That was big.”
The team has been battling through the growing pains of a rebuilding year. They had lost four of their previous six games in the final two minutes. The Purple Pride felt they were due.
“I hope this will give us the knowledge that we can beat the good teams,” Coach Beadles continued. “It’s a great start for a young team!”
The victory lifted SAGU to 4-10 overall and was their first league win in the Red River Athletic Conference after seven setbacks. Wiley fell to 9-5 and 5-3.
The Wildcats could never solve the Southwestern zone defense, which held them 25 points under their league-best average of 84 points per game. In fact, after they made 43% of their shots in the first half, the ‘Cats could manage to connect on just 27% (9 of 33) in the pivotal second half.
While tightening the clamps, the Lions also forced 22 turnovers. In dominating the boards, 41-25, a hungry SAGU team was revealed in a 19-10 margin in offensive rebounds.
Trailing 44-36, Lady Lions surge during 27-15 finish
The Lady Lions made eight crucial baskets down the stretch as they regrouped to outscore their counterparts in purple, 27-15. Roberts made four jumpers on assists from Andrea Lugo (San Antonio, Tx / Somerset HS) twice, Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS) and Bruner before cashing in on the offensive putback that put SAGU in the lead for good.
Roberts had 11 of the 27 points, while Rodriguez made six, Bruner five, Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JuCu, Lakeview Centennial HS) four and Tina Brown (New Braunfels, Tx / Lifegate Christian) one.
Bruner swished a pair of foul shots to pull even at 48, capping a 12-4 run. Rodriguez converted two buckets, one on a helper from Brown that set the stage for the stickback by Roberts.
Rodriguez helped seal the deal with two foul shots and a 61-58 lead with 1:18 remaining. Brown made a steal on defense and Roberts swatted away a shot under the basket in the last minute. Brown and Bruner iced the game with foul shots.
In the final 1:57, Wiley was silenced on 0-for-7 shooting as well as missing three-of-four free throws.
The Lady Lions finished with three players reaching double figures; Roberts’ 18, Winston 16, and Rodriguez with 13. Bruner netted six, while Cordia Harvatin (San Antonio, Tx / Stacey HS) added three, which came on a sweet triple.
Brown added three points. Sascha Lewis (Lufkin, Tx / Hudson HS) and Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) each contributed two. Lewis made her first career start and contributed three rebounds and a steal. Her night was cut short due to foul trouble as she joined Winston in picking up five.
The Wildcats were led by Chinwendu Mbah, who had 14 points and five boards.
Wiley hurt themselves on the charity stripe where they connected on 20 of 33. They were 12 of 21 in the second half. SAGU tossed in 16 of their 25 tries. Wiley led at the half, 28-26.
Southwestern plays Paul Quinn at home on Saturday
Southwestern returns to the court on Saturday when they host Dallas’ Paul Quinn College at 5:30pm. The game will be broadcast by SAGU SPORTS Live, which can be accessed at www.sagu.edu by clicking on the Watch SAGU TV button.