Lady Lions overcome cold start, roll 72-52
Team recovers from 13-point deficit
Coach Beadles now one win shy of 200
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WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- It was far from pretty, but the end product was another story.
The women’s basketball team from Southwestern Assemblies of God University overcame a dreadful start in which they trailed by 13 points to an upstart Arlington Baptist College squad.
Mixing in new players finally began to pay dividends later in the game as SAGU rallied for a 72-52 rout on Monday night.
For Head Coach Arlon Beadles, the infused line-up was bound to be slowed by speed bumps. The squad has recently added three student-athletes who played other fall sports in Gloria Lozano (soccer), Kassy Cox and Jessica Sodich (volleyball).
Facing a new program in Arlington Baptist turned out to be much more challenging as the Lady Patriots displayed fundamentals and hot perimeter shooting.
The starting line-up for SAGU had four underclassmen who played as though still wearing “Hello I’m” stickers.
Hannah McGaughy (pronounced like McCoy) knocked down a pair of three-pointers to give Arlington Baptist a 10-2 start.
Alert passing to open players had SAGU on their heels as the Patriots had their way. They built an 18-5 lead midway through the first half. Ciara Costello, Molly Young and Emily Glenn had little trouble scoring in the paint.
The likelihood the Lady Lions would regroup for Coach Beadles’ 199th career win was unthinkable even as the veteran sideline skipper barked orders to right the ship.
Once the crowd breakers and mixers ended, SAGU shifted gears to exit the “meet and greet” to get down to business.
Hankins, Sodich spark comeback
Beadles inserted Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS) and Sodich (Arlington, Tx / Ovilla Christian) into the fray. Presto! Rebounds and defensive presence. 'See' and 'So.'
The pair had an immediate impact, displaying court awareness and vision to go along with efficient shooting.
Their arrival brought out the best in the Lions backcourt trio of Keevie Bratchett (Center, Tx / Tenaha HS), Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) and Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Panola JC, Lakeview Centennial HS).
The threesome played 114 of a possible 120 minutes, a tribute to their effectiveness. They combined for more assists than turnovers while collecting two steals apiece.
Bratchett zoomed the length of the court following a defensive rebound for just the team’s second basket nearly ten minutes into the game.
On the next possession she hit Hankins on the baseline, where the junior center calmly drained a 15-foot jumper.
Following a pair of Hill free throws, Bratchett got the ball to Hankins again. Ditto the results and SAGU was within 25-21.
Into the teeth of the defense Hill drove the baseline for a second time and the Lady Lions were within 30-25 at the break.
The steadying hand of Beadles had kept the team in the game despite Arlington’s 55% shooting accuracy. SAGU missed 19 of their 26 shots by intermission.
Tale of Two Halves
After recess it was a chainbreak.
Winston ripped the nets from long distance, netted a pair from the foul line, and then stroked another triple on a kickout pass from Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS). The Lady Lions familiarity with one another was moving towards an acquaintance with the lead.
Content to playing her part in the offense earlier, she began to exhibit the ability to create a shot as well as scoring on the offensive glass.
She finished a spin move from the low block for a 35-34 lead with 17:21 to play, then took a pass from Cox as she cut inside.
Jetting coast-to-coast following a steal, Bratchett lifted the Purple Pride to a 39-34 advantage, capping a 14-4 run.
In one of the best plays of the night, Winston sought Hankins on the left block. Unable, she moved toward the elbow where she sent a bounce pass to Hankins. She cashed it in with a nifty pivot. A minute later Sodich duplicated the feat on the opposite side.
Three more baskets extended the margin to 49-38; Hill splitting three defenders with a drive, Bratchett turning another theft into a deuce and a Winston-to-Hankins facsimile.
Bratchett fed Sodich for a transition bucket and connected with Winston whose trifecta pushed the lead to 54-40.
The Lady Lions shoved it into cruise control with Brittany Griffin (Rockwall, Tx / Rockwall Christian) converting back-to-back scores in the paint, Winston’s steal and fast break pass to Hill ended in a left-handed layup.
Sodich scored on a stick back and Hill assisted a 3-ball from the side-pocket by Winston. The team’s largest lead came as a result of a well-greased transition play.
Winston grabbed a defensive board and gave an outlet pass to the speedy Bratchett. She drew a defender near the lane before dishing to Sodich to illustrate Exhibit A in finishing. SAGU led by 21, marking a 34-point swing from their unpleasant opening.
Team and Player Stats
SAGU made 20 of 34 second half shots (59%) while holding Arlington to 5-of-28 (18%). For the game the Lions’ accuracy improved to 45% while the Lady Pats sunk to 34%.
Winston led four in double figures with 21 points. She drilled four threes and 5-of-7 free throws.
Sodich poured in 14 points, all after intermission, making good on 7-of-10 attempts. She also had six rebounds and two steals, awarded with 27 minutes on the court.
Hankins added 10 points (5-of-8 shots), seven boards and three steals in twenty minutes.
Hill and Bratchett contributed 10 and eight points respectively, the latter credited with five assists. Griffin had four points and two caroms in five minutes.
Cox, while unable to score a basket, led the team with nine rebounds, two steals and a pair of assists.
SAGU, now 2-3, scored 47 points in the second half.
The Lady Lions held a 36-35 edge on the glass and forced 24 turnovers. Southwestern gave the ball away 14 times.
Coach Beadles, with his quiver full of arrows, can begin calling on a deeper bench as he reworks the rotation with the most effective combinations.
Costello paced the Patriots with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Young added 15 and McGaughy totalled 14 on the strength of four treys. Along with Glenn, the pair claimed nine boards apiece.
The Patriots (2-2 record) hurt their cause by making only 13 of 25 free throws. They were 11-of-20 after halftime. SAGU was 14-of-21 for the game, 3-of-4 in the final twenty minutes.
Tuesday night: Shooting for 200
The Lady Lions return to the court on Tuesday night when they travel to north to face Dallas Christian College. They can give Beadles his 200th victory coaching women with a victory in the 6:00pm contest.
SAGU will begin the league season in the Red River Athletic Conference this week. On Thursday they visit Huston-Tillotson University in Austin.
The Lady Rams, currently 1-5, were 6-22 last winter. SAGU split the season series, losing on the road, 68-62, then claiming a 58-52 triumph at home.
The next home tilt for the Lady Lions is Saturday, December 1, in a 2:00pm matinee against Jarvis Christian College (0-2).
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