Second half dooms Lady Lions
Wayland Baptist breaks open close game
SAGU comes up short in 64-43 setback
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The best half of basketball to date by Southwestern Assemblies of God University was not enough to prevent a 64-43 loss to a solid Wayland Baptist University team at the SAGU Classic.
The two future league-mates in the Sooner Athletic Conference, squared off on Saturday night, both eager to improve on a losing season last winter.
SAGU, coming off a 10-21 mark, and Wayland, an 11-17 mark, went toe-to-toe in a fairly even first half.
Sluggish out of the blocks to begin the second half, the Lady Lions never recovered. Freshman guard Laura Castillo fired a 3-ball as Wayland scored six quick points to extend a 24-19 halftime edge to 30-19.
Angeleigh Davis ripped the nets from downtown and their run had become a game-deciding 25-8 surge for the Flying Queens.
Breaking open a close game, they had complete control at 49-27.
Three more triples was too much for the Lady Lions, who allowed 7-of-12 long distance calls in the second half. Davis had two more and 5’1 Stephanie Afunugo a solo as the margin swelled to 60-31.
The defensive wriggle aside, there was much to like in the Southwestern performance.
“It was our best half of basketball through four games,” said veteran Head Coach Arlon Beadles of the opening twenty minutes.
The Lady Lions built a 9-4 lead and were down just 21-19 late.
“Our defense had some problems, but we still held them to 32% shooting,” the coach added. “We could’ve helped ourselves with better shots and from the foul line (14-of-23), but they just wore us down as the game went along.”
“We emphasize the first five minutes of each half,” the coach pointed out. “We got the job done to start (the game), but they (WBU) made a good run in the second half. They are a good, deep team. They were simply more physical than us.”
Coach Beadles pointed out that several players did well at various aspects of their play, though he mentioned that Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) and Okevia Bratchett (Center, Tx / Tenaha HS) handled the physical play quite well.
High praise considering they are a pair of lightweights in the backcourt. They can pack quite a punch!
The duo plays like intrepid explorers. They are fearless in attacking on both ends of the floor. Bratchett is from a small town in East Texas, not far from the Louisiana border. She does not play ‘small town,’ however.
During the opening minutes of the game they spurred the team to a five-point lead while Wayland focused their attention on stopping Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JC, Lakeview Centennial HS).
In the first half Winston managed a lone shot attempt, though it was due to three quick touch-fouls more than anything Wayland did to prevent her from scoring.
The Lady Lions trailed, 21-19, with 2:36 left in the half following two free throws by Bratchett.
Wayland made 7-of-12 long distance calls in the second half to pull away. During the opening twenty minutes they fought to score against SAGU’s trapping zone defense.
The team has finished in the Top 20 in five straight seasons in field goal or scoring defense, as opponents are regularly held under 35% accuracy. Saturday was no different.
Wayland was just 6-of-25 (24%) in the first half. They turned to their perimeter game, which ranked 21st in the NAIA last season (33% beyond the arc). It paid off.
At game’s end the Queens were 18-of-55 (12-of-30) to finish at .327. They made up the difference by dominating the boards, 43-30, 13-4 on the offensive glass.
WBU coaxed 27 turnovers from Team Purp, while making 19 themselves.
SAGU was led by Winston, who netted 12 points in just 23 minutes. She also contributed six rebounds.
Bratchett and Hill each tossed in 10 points apiece, with the former latching onto a team-best 8 rebounds. Hill was tops with three assists.
Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS) registered four points, making both of her shots, while Cordia Harvatin (San Antonio, Tx / Stacey HS) reeled in six boards.
The Lady Lions reserves had an off-game, making one of ten shots.
SAGU doesn’t play for 15 days, covering the Thanksgiving holiday.
They return to action the following week with four games in six days.
Their next game is at home, Monday, November 26, when Arlington Baptist College visits Waxahachie. Tip-off is set for 5:30pm.
The remainder of the week has the Lady Lions playing at Dallas Christian College on Tuesday, Nov. 27, before starting the league play in the Red River Athletic Conference.
SAGU will be in Austin to take on Huston-Tillotson University on Thursday, Nov. 29, then playing host to Jarvis Christian College on Saturday, December 1.
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