Lady Lions Preparing for Texas College
Game will spotlight the fight against cancer
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Saturday night's women's basketball game between the visiting Texas College and Southwestern Assemblies of God University could prove to be a very important regular season clash.
The Lady Steers are coming off of a tough, 63-53 defeat at Langston on Monday in which they held the Lions to 29% shooting and forced 29 turnovers. They had won three straight league games, including a 101-93 victory over Our Lady of the Lake.
The 5:30pm tipoff on a night in which the fight against breast cancer will be the theme, the game could be a very physical meeting. Texas College is 15-8 overall and 7-8 in the Red River Athletic Conference, which places them in 7th. They could see each again in three weeks during the RRAC tournament (March 3-5). There will be a special collection at halftime of the game, providing fans an opportunity to give to the highly critical need for cancer research.
About the Lady Steers
Coach Jennifer Pillich, who began her college career playing alongside Lisa Leslie at Southern Cal before finishing at Huston-Tillotson, has a talented, senior-led squad coming to town.
The Lady Steers attack the basket to the tune of 48.4 rebounds per game, which ranks #1 in the RRAC. They score 76 points per game, which is #2 in the league. Their defense feeds their offense as they force over 20 turnovers per game. TC leads the RRAC in steals by grabbing 14 per game.
While Texas College has obvious strengths, their aggressive style expresses itself in 23 personal fouls each game. That is the most of any team in the conference. Also, at 24.2, they turn the ball over more than anyone. But their all-out M.O. has served them well overall.
Their offense has balanced scoring without relying on perimeter shots. They make only 26% beyond the arc and make a league low 2.5 three-pointers per contest.
Of their eight losses in the RRAC, the Steers have fallen five times by 10 points or less, including a pair of one-point setbacks to Bacone and University of the Southwest. They remain the only team to whip Langston University, 75-65. They are dangerous when they are "on."
Their top five players include three forwards; Chardonnay Nelson (11.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg), Keyara Criner (8.5 / 5.5) and Ashley Proctor (8.7 / 7.2). The guards are British Thomas (12.2 ppg) and Elise Kea (10.9 / 5.3). Of that quintet, all are seniors except for Criner, a sophomore. Cat-quick guard, junior Amber Girdy leads the offense in assists at three per game.
First Game Between SAGU and Texas College
On January 8, when SAGU travelled to Tyler, the Lady Lions came away with a hard fought, 66-57 triumph. In doing so they broke to a 34-19 halftime lead. While holding their own against TC on the boards (40-38), Southwestern limited the Horns to 30% shooting.
In that game the Lady Lions were led by Chelsea Jones (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian), who scored 16, Stephanie Hawkins (DeSoto, Tx / DeSoto HS) with 15, Heather Jefferson (Conroe, Tx / Conroe HS) 10 and Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS) nine.
Lady Lions National Rankings
SAGU, who endured a 55-38 loss at LSU-Shreveport on Monday, were ranked #34 in this week's NAIA Coaches Poll, along with Texas Wesleyan. Langston moved up to #15.
The National Christian College Athletic Association released their Top Ten rating on Tuesday. Southwestern held on to their #7 position.
After a 10-game winning streak saw the Purple Pride record rise to 13-3, the squad has gone 4-4 over the past month. The team is due to regain their trademark of consistency as the season builds to a climax over the next month.
SAGU has several players who have been slowed of late by nagging injuries, which is common at this stage of the season. Starting center, Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS), a 5-foot-11 freshman, was held out of Monday's loss at Shreveport.
She was involved in a collision near the basket against Wiley College. She hobbled off the court with what appeared to be a knee injury. After examination by the SAGU Sports Medicine staff, the injury was declared a back strain. She was back at practice on Wednesday.
Seniors to be Honored on Monday, Feb. 14
The four senior members on the Lady Lions basketball team will be in the spotlight on Valentine's Day prior to their game against Jarvis Christian. Rachel Harris (Ft. Worth, Tx / Bethesda Christian), Jones, Jefferson and Hawkins will play their final regular season game that night.
Southwestern will honor the foursome and their parents in a brief ceremony that will allow fans to show their appreciation for their years in purple and gold.
Current Red River Athletic Conference Standings
|TEAM||RRAC RECORD||OVERALL RECORD|
|Our Lady of the Lake||11-5||15-7|
|Univ of the Southwest||3-12||5-16|
|Paul Quinn College||1-14||4-20|
|*Ineligible for post-season play this season|