Lady Lions stifle Tigers, 47-38
Defense, big shots pave victors' way
After losing 15-point lead, SAGU wins on 12-2 run
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Behind a stifling defense and the steady hand of point guard Nia Winston, Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s women’s basketball team defeated Paul Quinn College on Saturday night, 47-38. It was the second win in a row for the host Lady Lions.
SAGU, 5-10 overall and 2-7 in the Red River Athletic Conference, controlled the game from the start, building a 32-18 lead with under 14 minutes remaining. Paul Quinn, 3-12 and 2-7, regrouped to pour in a string of 15 unanswered points for a 33-32 lead on a basket by Brittany Maddux.
During that 6:28 stretch, while the Lady Lions missed six straight shots and turned the ball over four times, the Tigers were converting six of eight attempts and a pair of free throws to take their only lead. It lasted only 25 seconds.
Showing the same toughness that propelled them to a grueling 63-59 win over Wiley College on Thursday, SAGU recovered.
Following a timeout by Head Coach Arlon Beadles, the Lady Lions came roaring back to claim the dubya.
On their next possession, Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JuCo, Lakeview Centennial HS) knocked down a midrange jump shot to re-take the lead at 34-33. It triggered a 9-0 run that effectively knocked out the would-be Lady Tigers.
Gabby Bruner (Peaster, Tx / Peaster HS), the senior forward, found the range after an assist from Sascha Lewis (Lufkin, Tx / Hudson HS). Then, after Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS) rejected a shot, the Lady Lions netted another bucket to go up five. Roberts leapt for an offensive carom, banging it home with 4:40 to play.
Overcoming the pain from an enduring injury, Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS) swished a foul shot. She raced to gather in her own miss and assisted a Winston tally to ring the death knell. SAGU had reestablished the lead, 41-33, with 3:08 to play.
Rodriguez erased all doubt a minute later when she drained her third triple, set up by a Bruner kickout pass that pushed the score to 41-35 at 2:11.
In the final 7:11, Southwestern tightened their zone, if not their focus, and limited Quinn to one basket and a pair of foul shots.
Bruner summarizes the key to victory
When asked about the team’s ability to recoil after their 15-point advantage vanished, Bruner simply pointed to her head and then said, “Mentally tough.”
After the team lost leads in in the final two minutes in four of six games, Beadles’ mantra has been resiliency, weathering storms and finishing games with focus and strong play.
For the second time in three nights, a determined Purple Pride fought through and asserted their will when the outcome hung in the balance.
The victory moved the team to within one win of eighth place, which would earn them a berth in the RRAC post-season tournament the first weekend in March.
Winston was selected the Chicken Express Player of the Game by the SAGU Sports Live broadcasters for her steady performance. She had a game-high 19 points that included 3-of-5 three-pointers. Eleven of her points came in the second half.
Rodriquez added 10 points while committing zero turnovers in 31 minutes on the court.
Bruner labored for nine points and nine boards, five coming on the offensive end. Roberts, the national leader in blocked shots, swatted seven more while snatching 11 rebounds. She also made four steals.
Tina Brown (New Braunfels, Tx / Lifegate Christian), a senior guard, latched onto five rebounds, while Andrea Lugo (San Antonio, Tx / Somerset HS) contributed three steals.
Southwestern shot just 32% from the field, but squeezed the Tigers into making only 28% of their fifty shots. SAGU held a 39-35 edge on the boards, with a 14-10 margin on the offensive glass. Improvement in ball control saw the Lions make three less turnovers that Quinn’s 21.
The Tigers were led by Chaniese Turner’s 16 points.
First half revisited
SAGU led at the half, 23-14, holding Quinn to 24% shooting.
Rodriguez and Winston opened the contest with back to treys and a 6-0 lead. Keevie Bratchett (Center, Tx / Tenaha HS) assisted another Rodriguez three-ball, from the side pocket, for an 11-8 advantage. Cordia Harvatin (San Antonio, Tx / Stacey HS) zipped a pass to set-up a Roberts baseline wrister, and a Bruner dime preceded a Winston trifecta for a 19-12 lead.
Bratchett scored inside and a pull-up jumper in the middle of the lane by Brown pushed the lead to nine at recess.
Shreveport: Rolling on the (Red) River
Southwestern returns to action on Monday with a 185-mile trip to play LSU-Shreveport (10-5, 8-1 RRAC). Fans can follow the game on Live Stats, a text-oriented play-by-play version on-line. Tip-off is set for 5:30pm CST. The teams split two meetings last winter.
Visit www.redriverconference.com, click on women’s basketball from the left column. Locate the game in the schedule on the right column and click on Live Stats. SAGU offers this same service for fans during home games.
They are back at home next Saturday evening, January 21, to face Jarvis Christian College (6-4, 6-4 in RRAC).