Lady Lions, Winston deliver in 57-52 triumph
SAGU earns first conference win; seek second on Thursday
Roberts, Page, Dorsey and timely free throws prove critical
Box Score (link below)
Current S.A.C. Standings: http://www.soonerathletic.org/sport/0/5.php
BETHANY, Oklahoma -- On a night in which one Winston was crowned a national champion, another rose to the occasion in the clutch to lead Southwestern Assemblies of God University to a much needed victory.
The Lady Lions broke a 50-50 tie with 1:20 remaining by scoring five straight points to hand Southwestern Christian University a 57-52 defeat at the Pickens-Springer Gymnasium.
Like a cresting wave down the stretch, the game saw five ties and four lead changes to set up a play that snapped the final deadlock.
Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial HS ) dashed along the baseline and scored on a layup in traffic to give the Purple Pride the lead for good, 52-50, with fifty-two seconds left in the game.
“We were running a play that had been working the entire game,” she explained. “So we didn't go away from it at the end."
“I got the ball on the left-hand baseline on a pass (from Jirah Rodriguez [Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS ]). A spin move freed me up to get to the basket.”
Winston’s layup, which came on a set play, according to Assistant Coach Kory Henry, was the difference.
SAGU (7-6 / 1-2 in SAC) coaxed a turnover that led to Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS ) splitting a pair of free throws with 0:38 to go.
The Eagles’ Vanessa Bledsoe misfired from long-distance and Laken Ward (Cleveland, Ark / Wonderview HS ) gripped the defensive carom. The freshman forward was immediately fouled (0:18). She sank two foul shots for a five point margin.
An SWCU putback with five seconds left preceeded two Winston foul shots to close the scoring.
“I was proud of the way we all kept our composure at such a crucial time in the game,” added Winston. “It was an exciting first (conference) win.”
She also ended the first half with a three-bomb from halfcourt for a 30-25 lead at the break for the Lady Lions.
Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS ) snared the rebound and hit Winston with an outlet pass. She dribbled once and let it fly as time expired.
“We made some big free throws late in the game. I am extremely proud of our effort tonight,” praised Head Coach Arlon Beadles. “This was an important win for the women's program.”
“It will provide momentum for us as we prepare for our upcoming game at Texas Wesleyan on Thursday.”
Beadles pointed out that several others made big contributions, including freshman Charity Page (Nacogdoches, Tx / Nacogdoches HS ).
She netted a putback (43-42, 5:30) and swished two foul shots for a 45-44 lead with 4:44 showing on the clock.
He also mentioned the spark that freshman Monica Dorsey (Garland, Tx / Sachse HS ) provided off the bench in both halves.
She scored on a pass from Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS ) to tie the game at 17-17 to cap a 15-6 run to overcome an 11-2 advantage by the Eagles.
Like they did at the end of the game, SAGU ended the half with a 7-2 spurt.
SAGU’s zone defense limited the Eagles to only 22% shooting. SWCU avoided a route by winning the boards, 42-38, as well as stroking 25 of 30 free throws.
Winston led all scorers with 23. It was the eighth time the SAC's leading scorer (18.1 ppg) made twenty or more points.
Page tossed in 10 points and was credited with seven boards. Hill registered eight points and three assists.
Roberts is the player whose game skills could be the team’s missing tonic. The 6-foot senior laid claim to 13 rebounds and blocked five shots.
Lady Lions next two games
SAGU plays at Texas Wesleyan University (5-6 / 1-2 in SAC) on Thursday at 6:00pm (CST).
The Lady Lions next home game is Saturday afternoon, 3:00pm, when University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma (2-4 / 1-2 in SAC).