Drovers lasso Lady Lions
USAO tops SAGU in season opener
Winston, Hankins, Hill score in double-figures
BETHANY, Oklahoma -- Despite controlling the boards in convincing fashion, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University women's basketball team finished on the wrong side of an 84-64 decision against the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma on Friday night.
The game was part of the Southwestern Christian University Classic in a western suburb of Oklahoma City. It was the season opener for both schools.
USAO led from the outset, establishing a 46-28 advantage at the half. The Lady Drovers went on to make 46% of their shots.
They took better care of the basketball, making only eight turnovers; SAGU had 18.
The Purple Pride won the battle of the boards, 43-33, including 12-8 on the offensive end, but struggled with match-up problems against Science & Arts.
The Drovers (a person who drives cattle to market), 5-24 a year ago, are now under the leadership of Jennifer Hayden. She has served as head coach at the University of the Southwest, a member of the Red River Athletic Conference, and last winter at Sul Ross State University (Alpine, Tx).
USAO has a fresh, new look with 12 transfer players to go along with the new direction from Coach Hayden.
Friday they were led by Krista Ford, a 5-foot-9 senior guard who came from Sul Ross. She led all scorers with 27 points.
Another senior, 6’0 forward Rocio Medrano, netted 21. The pair combined to sink 5-of-9 beyond the arc, where USAO had a 9-2 margin in three-pointers.
Senior Lauren Campo and junior Paige Pulliam each had 10 as the Lady Drovers edge in experience was a factor.
Stat Leaders of the Cat Pack
The Lady Lions placed three in double-digits, paced by junior guard Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JC, Lakeview Centennial HS). She poured in 17, aided by an 8-of-12 effort from the foul line.
Winston also grabbed eight rebounds and had five of the team’s 14 assists.
Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS), who labored through an injury-filled season as a sophomore, played large throughout. She accounted for 14 points and had a game-high 15 rebounds, seven offensive.
Freshman point Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) contributed 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting, and had a pair of assists. Okevia Bratchett (Center, Tx / Tenaha HS) added eight points and four boards.
Cordia Harvatin (San Antonio, Tx / Stacey HS) tossed in six points, while Andrea Lugo (San Antonio, Tx / Somerset HS) and Brittany Griffin (Rockwall, Tx / Rockwall Christian) had three points each. Lugo (LOO-go) registered three assists; Griffin five rebounds.
Shaina Tanks (Spring Branch, Tx / Smithson Valley HS), who figures to play a key role in the offense this season, was limited to two points.
SAGU managed to connect on 41% of their shots. Last winter the squad was good on just 34% of their attempts. After an 11-of-19 first half on the foul line, the Lions finished at 18-of-29.
The Purple Pride was without two players being counted on as starters this season; Bethany Krock (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) and Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS).
Krock, a redshirt freshman, was ruled out for two weeks following the scrimmage with Hill College. Rodriguez, a three-point sniper at forward, will redshirt the season to rehab a previous injury. She also played in the pre-season exhibitions.
The Lady Lions will take on the tournament host, Southwestern Christian University, 16-16 last season, on Saturday evening.
SAGU will host their own tournament, the SAGU Classic, next weekend, November 9-10.
Friday night's home debut will pit them against Dallas Christian College at 7:30pm. The Lady Lions have won meetings with the Crusaders in each of the past four seasons.
Saturday, also at 7:30pm, SAGU will face Wayland Baptist University. The "Flying Queens," from the Sooner Athletic Conference, posted an 11-17 mark last year.