Inside job allows Flying Queens to crown SAGU
Wayland Baptist controls boards in 75-58 triumph
Rodriguez sinks three 3's, Roberts swats 4 shots, McAfee has 5 assists
PLAINVIEW, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University built an early lead but squandered a chance to open a solid lead on the road. Wayland Baptist University bounced back to claim a 75-58 triumph at the Hutcherson Center.
The Lady Pioneers dominated the SAGU interior to pave the way to their fifth consecutive win.
Wayland is now 9-8 overall and are 6-2 in the Sooner Athletic Conference. They are 5-2 at home, losing only to Our Lady of the Lake University and Oklahoma Baptist University, both nationally ranked.
SAGU, who had won two in a row, slipped to 10-10 in all games and 4-6 in the SAC. The team was 9-21 last season.
The Lady Lions, intent on establishing a good beginning, took an 11-7 lead less than seven minutes into the game.
Freshman guard Alexis McAfee (DeSoto, Tx / DeSoto HS ) assisted on back-to-back three-pointers by senior Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial HS ) and sophomore Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS ) as SAGU overcame a 7-5 deficit.
McAfee scored earlier when she knocked down a jumper. Junior Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS ) ripped the nets from long distance after a pass from senior Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS ) to tie the game at 3-3.
The opening seven minutes could have witnessed a larger share of the lead for the Purple Pride. Even with the four-point lead, SAGU connected on just four of their first 13 shots while missing two free throws and making three turnovers.
At the same time SAGU forced Wayland into four turnovers and allowed only 3-of-8 shooting.
Having weathered the Lady Lions’ energetic start, the Wayland women countered with a 13-1 run for a 20-12 lead.
SAGU drew to within 26-22 on repeated Rodriguez triples and two Winston free throws with 3:22 left in the half.
Missing their last ten shots, they surrendered a 10-0 run to trail at the half, 36-22.
While they held their own in the second stanza, SAGU never seriously threatened. The closest they came was eleven points.
In arrears, 53-32, the Lady Lions went on an 11-0 run. A putback by freshman Laken Ward (Cleveland, Ark / Wonderview HS ) and two from the charity strip by Winston got things rolling.
McAfee stopped and popped a jumper in the lane. Freshman Monica Dorsey (Garland, Tx / Sachse HS ) did similarly after an offensive rebound by junior Brittany Griffin (Rockwall, Tx / Rockwall Christian ) and one of McAfee’s five assists.
Freshman Charity Page (Nacogdoches, Tx / Nacogdoches HS ) powered in a layup, courtesy of a Dorsey helper at the 9:23 mark.
The hosts answered by securing 19-point leads on four occasions down the stretch.
Their top scorers were guards Ashleigh Davis and Laura Castillo. The former produced 20 points while the latter registered 13 as well as nine assists.
Winston overcame a 3-for-20 shooting night to lead with 15 points. Two treys and a 7-for-7 showing on the foul line helped spur the offense.
Dorsey made all three of her shots to score eight, equaled by Rodriguez’s eight.
Ward grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds, five on offense. She totaled six points and had three steals. Roberts swatted four shots and reeled in nine boards in 19 minutes of play.
Roberts’ 37 rejections rank No. 7 in the NAIA.
Team totals tell the tale
The Purple Pride’s strength is clear, a zone defense that limits most opponents field goal accuracy. They held the Flying Queens to making .367 of their attempts.
Wayland was able to amass a 79 to 62 advantage in tries benefitted by a huge favor on the boards, especially on the offensive glass.
They won the battle on the boards, 56-38. That included a 26-14 command in rebounds from offensive misfires.
It led to a 23-13 margin in second chance points as well as a 34-14 advantage in points scored in the paint.
The Lady Lions overcame 21% shooting in the first half (7-of-34) by making 43% (12-28) in the second. They were outscored by 39-36 after recess.
Lady Lions get much-needed week off before next game
SAGU has a week off before they start their final 10 games. Six are at home.
Next Thursday, January 30, they travel 235 miles north to meet No. 7 Oklahoma City University (11-2 / 8-1 in SAC) at the Abe Lemons Center. It will be available on livestream video.
The Lady Lions return home on Saturday, February 1. Southwestern Christian University visits in a 3pm matinee.
SAGU Sports Live will begin their HD coverage with a pre-game show at 2:45pm.
SPECIAL THANKS to WBU Sports Information Directors Calvin Bass and Kevin Lewis for use of the photos in this article. Joe Morales - Potographer.