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Down 25, SAGU draws to within 62-58

Five-game road trip has three remaining

Box Score

CEDAR HILL, Texas  --  Southwestern Assemblies of God University's women's basketball team made a tremendous comeback in the second half, only to run out of time in a 67-59 setback against Northwood University.

The Lady Lions fell behind by 25 points, 58-33, before staging an impressive run to draw to within 62-58 with 1:14 remaining.

After succumbing to a 25-4 run by SAGU, Northwood staved off the hungry Lions in the nick of time.

The host Knights turned an offensive rebound on their next possession into a pair of free throws by Lakeisha Blanson.

SAGU turned the ball over (on a drive inside and an apparent foul) on their trip down the floor, leading to an Anna Perez foul shot that gave Northwood a 67-58 margin with 0:24 to go.

After playing a man-to-man defense in the first half that was shred for 40 points and 56% shooting, SAGU went back to their coveted zone. Was it ever effective!?

Over the last half the Knights connected on just 31% from the field and, during the last 11 minutes of the game, did not make a single basket. All of their scoring was managed on seven foul shots for the remainder of the game.

“We played one very good half,” said Head Coach Arlon Beadles afterwards. “Putting two halves together, that’s what it takes.”

“We played very well on defense and did a number of things well,” he added. “We’re young and we’re getting there.”

The game was played before a sparse crowd at Nutting Arena on the campus of Trinity Christian School, which is serving as Northwood's playing site in this, their inaugural season.

Breaking down the rally; highlights and stats

SAGU showed improvement in ball control, yielding only 17 turnovers after making 38 at Our Lady of the Lake University. The backcourt also spearheaded the zone defense, making steals and limiting passes to the interior.

Okievia Bratchett (Center, Tx / Tenaha HS) had one of her best games in purple.

The sophomore, who is eaten up with quick, not only led the team in scoring with 14 points, but racked up a career-best seven steals for the second time this season!

She had two plays that stood out, each helping trigger the rally.

After knocking down two free throws (she made 8-of-9) that cut the SAGU deficit to 59-41 with 8:09 to play, the led a 3-on-2 fastbreak.

Flanked by Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) on her right and Jessica Sodich (Arlington, Tx / Ovilla Christian) on her left, she looked to Hill, who had a step on a defender.

Freezing the defense, she flipped a pass to Sodich, who motored in for a layup.

The speed merchant forced a turnover at the top of the key, and then weaved past a backpeddling Lady Knight for a coast-to-coast drive that reduced the debt to 60-51 at the 4:59 mark.

Sodich, in fact, also had a promising effort. The freshman made a steal that led to a pair from the charity stripe by Bratchett.

She was involved in two other plays that had Team Purple knocking on the door.

A defensive rebound by Cordia Harvatin (San Antonio, Tx / Stacey HS) was sent to Bratchett as an outlet pass. She then spotted Harvatin near the elbow, who zipped a pass inside to Sodich for a deuce.

Then, Harvatin tied up a Northwood player on defense, giving SAGU possession, trailing 62-56 with less than two minutes on the clock.

Sodich made the most of it, lifting a sweet lob to Hankins, who had broken towards the rack from the high post. Her layup at 1:14 prompted a timeout by Northwood, who had just enough in their tank to outlast the Jungle Queens.

Hill supported Bratchett with 13 points and the team’s only three-point basket.

While the Lady Lions overall accuracy was 35% (17 of 49), beyond the arc they were good just once in 14 tries.

However, SAGU knocked down 24-of-29 free throws to score with the clock stopped, effectively countering Northwood fouls.

Over the past seven games the Lady Lions have shot .817 from the line, one of the best stretches in team history.

Since returning from the holidays they have made 55-of-66 in three games. (see graph below)

Sodich (SO-ditch) finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Hankins and Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) scored nine and eight points respectively. Hankins had five boards while, Cox, who was limited to three, made all six of her foul shots.

Blanson, a 5’9 sophomore forward, dominated the first half. She was credited with 21 points and five boards. She also stroked 11-of-12 free throws.

The Lady Lions starting line-up outscored their counterparts, 48-41.

The loss, SAGU’s eighth in a row, drops their overall record to 5-12.

Northwood has won two straight and upped their ledger to 3-15.

It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools that will both join the Sooner Athletic Conference (along with Texas Wesleyan University) next fall.

Next Game: Saturday in Hawkins, Texas

SAGU returns to the court on Saturday, January 19, when they travel to East Texas to face Jarvis Christian College (0-13) in a 2:00pm matinee.

After facing Jarvis, SAGU has two more road games next week before returning to play Bacone College (4-9) at home on Saturday night, Jan. 26.

Contact: Mark "Link" Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at or at 469-658-2847.

All photos posted here are by Moving Pictures / Steve Patterson. View and/or purchase hundreds of pictures at:

SAGU Free Throws – Last Seven Games

Date Opponent FTA-FTM Pct.
Dec. 10 Langston Univ 6-5 .833
Dec. 13 LSU-Shreveport 11-9 .818
Dec. 15 Univ of Southwest 12-9 .750
Dec. 17 Texas Wesleyan 9-7 .778
Jan. 5 St. Thomas 17-13 .765
Jan. 10 Our Lady of the Lake 20-18 .900
Jan. 14 Northwood Univ 29-24 .828
  Totals 104-85 .817