Cold second half cages Lady Lions
Team drops to 0-2 after weekend tourney
Lady Lions host SAGU Classic, Nov. 9-10
BETHANY, Oklahoma -- A solid first half was not enough for the women’s basketball team from Southwestern Assemblies of God University to avoid an 0-2 start to the new campaign.
Southwestern Christian University broke open a tight game and pulled away during a 63-45 road loss for SAGU.
The Lady Lions (0-2) led early by four, and maintained the lead through the first 15 minutes.
The closing five minutes saw the Lady Eagles finish strong, grabbing a 25-19 lead at the break. SAGU held the Eagles to 29% shooting (8-of-28) in the first half, but failed to capitalize on free throws.
They missed 5-of-6 while SCU drained 7-of-11 to gradually take control of a game that saw five lead changes in the first half.
After recess the team’s shooting, as the late Welsh novelist Howard Spring once said, was as drab as unpolished pewter.
SAGU connected on just 7-of-33 shots (21%), including 4-of-17 from long distance (23%).
The Eagles, 16-16 last season, took a commanding 25-point lead with 8:09 to play. Filling the basket on 14 of 32 attempts (44%) after halftime negated any chance of a comeback by SAGU.
Like the night before in their opener in the SWCU Classic, the Lady Lions defense yielded 38 second-half points.
Southwestern Christian’s defense, meanwhile, put the clamps on the Lady Lions starting backcourt trio. The threesome combined to make 8-of-37 tries (21%) and commit 14 turnovers, while their counterparts were good on 14-of-32 (44%) and nine miscues.
A key factor in the game was center Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS) getting into foul trouble. Without her presence inside for 15 minutes, the Eagles were able to gain control of the boards, 47-42.
Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JC, Lakeview Centennial HS) struggled through an off-shooting night to lead the team with 14 points. Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS), a freshman point guard, netted nine.
The duo did knock down five triples, though 19 attempts were more than they wanted to invest.
Cordia Harvatin (San Antonio, Tx / Stacey HS) and Keevie Bratchett (Center, Tx / Tenaha HS) tossed in five points apiece.
They both enjoyed some success on the glass, where the 5’4 Bratchett battled for a career-best eight boards. Harvatin and Winston each reeled in five.
Freshman marksman Shaina Tanks (Spring Branch, Tx / Smithson Valley HS) came off the bench to add five points in 11 minutes, including her first collegiate three-ball.
Brittany Griffin (Rockwall, Tx / Rockwall Christian) latched onto six caroms in only 13 minutes of court time.
LaPorschea Sanders, a transfer from Seminole State College (Fla), starred for the Blue Birds. The senior guard had 18 points, nine boards and five assists.
Even more impressive was how well she took care of the basketball. Sanders coughed it up just once in 36 minutes on the hardwood.
Forward Jordan Gooch, a 6’1 sophomore, contributed 12 points and seven rebounds. She stroked all six of her free throw attempts.
The Eagles have now won the last two meeting in the series. Two years ago, also in Bethany, they edged SAGU, 61-57, which, incidentally, dropped the Lady Lions record to 0-2. SAGU went on to post a 23-13 record and a top three finish at the *NCCAA Nationals.
In the past five years, however, SAGU holds a 3-2 edge in the series. Four of the games have been played in Oklahoma, where the Purple Pride is 2-2.
SAGU Classic / Nov. 9-10
Next weekend, November 9-10, the Lady Lions will play host to the annual SAGU Classic inside the Sheaffer Center.
On Friday they go up against Dallas Christian College, and then meet Wayland Baptist University, currently 1-1, on Saturday night. The WBU Flying Queens were 11-17 last winter.
Both contests will tip-off at 7:30pm. The games are not being livestreamed, though fans can follow the written/digital play-by-play on LiveStats.
Also participating in the tournament will be fellow RRAC** member, LSU-Shreveport. The Lady Pilots will face Wayland Baptist on Friday and Dallas Christian on Saturday – both slated for a 5:30pm start.
LSU-Shreveport is ranked #19 in the NAIA’s Pre-Season Coaches Poll. They were 25-9 a year ago.
SAGU takes off for two weeks during Thanksgiving. They return to action with four games in the week of Nov. 26 through December 1.
*NCCAA - National Christian College Athletic Association. **RRAC - Red River Athletic Conference.