Lady Lions end skid, top Horns, 73-63
SAGU dominates boards, force 34 turnovers
Hill, Sodich, Krock, Lugo shine in big road win
TYLER, Texas -- Snapping a string nine consecutive losses, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University Lady Lions basketball team defeated Texas College, 73-63(3-14, 2-10 in RRAC), in a Monday night road game at the Gus F. Taylor Gymnasium.
The team led from the opening tip, breaking to a 17-3 lead. The Lady Steers made two second half runs, each pulling to within five points. Both times SAGU replied with a mini-surge to maintain a double-digit lead for most of the game.
In taking their second win against Texas College this season, the Purple Pride improved their overall record to 6-13 and are now 3-9 in the Red River Athletic Conference.
They remain in contention for a berth in the post-season RRAC tournament. Currently the Lady Lions trail eighth place Bacone College by a half game.
The Lady Lions won the first meeting at home, 79-76, in December.
Head Coach Arlon Beadles got solid play from a host of players, particularly three freshmen.
Freshman point guard Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) poured in seven of eleven shots to finish with 19 points. She sank all five of her attempts from the foul line.
Hill was credited with four assists and made four steals.
Bethany Krock (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) continued her efficient play of late. Making 12 points for the second game in a row she hit a pair of three-pointers and collected two steals.
Forward Jessica Sodich (Arlington, Tx / Ovilla Christian) may have had the best overall floor game.
She netted 13 points, including a trey, and ripped down seven rebounds. The fiery competitor made a career-best six steals to lead a defense that forced 34 turnovers and pilfered the ball 18 times.
Another player on the rise of late was guard Andrea Lugo (San Antonio, Tx / Somerset HS). She converted two of three shots, each from beyond the arc, and scored seven points.
Recently moving from the point to the wing has worked well for the junior. Lugo (LOO-go) added two assists and is taking better care of the ball.
Three frontline players; Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS), Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS) and Brittany Griffin (Rockwall, Tx / Rockwall Christian) combined for 25 rebounds and 22 points.
Hankins, who has a shooter’s touch with 57% precision, is also a good passer. She made three-of-five from the field and pulled seven rebounds off the glass, three of them offensive.
Cox totaled eight points and nine boards; three offensive, and swiped the ball on three occasions.
Griffin dittoed Cox’s numbers; eight points and nine rebounds. However, five of her caroms came on the offensive glass.
SAGU shot 48% from the court (28 of 58), including five triples. On the charity stripe they converted 12 of 17.
Their play was anchored by their control of the backboards, where SAGU held a 46-30 upper-hand. They earned an 18-13 margin in offensive rebounds.
The Steers were led by Keyara (KEE-AR-ah) Criner, who had 18 points. Ashley Smith tossed in 12, while Jessica Williams reeled in 10 boards.
Texas College was held to 36% shooting accuracy (19 of 52). They connected on just two of twelve from long distance. What kept them in the game was a huge advantage in free throws. They swished 23 of 38 tries.
Excluding free throws, Southwestern outscored TC in baskets 61-40.
SAGU will enjoy the overdue victory before getting back to work. They have a third consecutive road game in East Texas in three days.
Wiley College, who host the Lady Lions on Thursday night, is ranked #17 in the NAIA. The Lady Wildcats are 17-1 overall and a perfect 11-0 in the RRAC.
First Half Revisited
Sodich got the team going early with a steal, and scored following a pass from Hill for a 4-1 lead. Hankins powered in an offensive stickback of a miss by Cox to push the score to 8-1.
Griffin also turned an offensive board into quick points at 12-3. Another Sodich steal set-up a scoring opportunity.
Seconds later Hill (pictured, left) spotted her on the wing and Sodich fired a 3-ball for a 17-3 margin that capped a 9-0 run.
A Sekeya (sah-KEE-yah) Robertson bucket, thanks to an Amber Girdy (GUHR-dee) assist sparked a Lady Horns reply, slicing their debt to 21-15.
Krock knocked down two foul shots, Griffin scored inside and Hill parlayed a TC turnover into a basket and a 29-18 lead for Team Purp.
One of the Lady Lions tri-captains, Krock wrapped up the half with a scoring shot that gave her team a 31-22 advantage heading into recess.
SAGU made 36% (10-28) of their shots while limiting Texas College to just 26% (6-23). Sodich was tops in points with nine.
The Lions also dominated the boards, 26-13, led by Griffin, who had six.
Second Half Summary
After the Steers cut their deficit to 35-30, SAGU answered with a 10-3 rally to go up 45-33.
A layup by Cox got things rolling, thanks to a pass from Krock. Krock then triggered a trifecta before Lugo checked-in.
She fed Hankins for a close-range deuce, and then stopped and popped from downtown to maintain control.
Field goals by Griffin and a pair from Hill did similarly as the Lions led 51-37. After a trey from Krock, Texas College assembled a 10-2 string of points, keyed by Smith and Kriner (like CRY-nurh).
They would get no closer than 56-51 the rest of the way.
Going for the jugular, a 12-4 retort by the Lady Lions reconfirmed their hold of the reigns at 68-55.
Cox scored in the paint, Hankins pitched to Lugo on the wing for three, Hill’s offensive putback of a missed free throw by Cox and a three-point play by Hill was made possible thanks to her theft on the opposite end.
The game was sealed when Lugo keyed SAGU’s scoring the final five points.
She assisted a bucket by Krock, and then swiped the ball – which Hill turned into a layup. Her free throw put the wraps on a triumph, showing these ‘Cats still had life after nine setbacks.
SAGU has eleven dates remaining on their schedule, plenty of time for a young squad to build on their progress. Eight of the games will be played at home.