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Golden Eagles close on 9-2 run to win, 59-55

SAGU controls lead, boards but not free throw count 

NEXT: SAC Tournament / Lady Lions play Wednesday at noon

Standings, Box Score, Play-by-Play  (links below)

hill-at-jbuSILOAM SPRINGS, Arkansas  --  After playing some of their best basketball of the season against the No. 16 ranked John Brown University, Southwestern Assemblies of God University was outscored 9-2 over the final five minutes in a 59-55 road defeat.

The Lady Lions led for much of the game thanks to a defense that held the hosts to 32% shooting and while dominating the boards, 47-36. They were not able to take advantage of a whopping 21-11 control of the offensive rebounds.

Despite outscoring the Golden Eagles 50-43 in basket points, the difference was a 13-3 disadvantage in second half free throw attempts. Seven of John Brown’s final nine points in the clutch were made from the charity stripe, including their final five points.

SAGU, who finished the regular season with a 14-16 record, including an 8-12 mark in the Sooner Athletic Conference, had plenty of chances to escape the Bill George Arena with an upset triumph.

After taking a 53-50 lead on a three-point basket by Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial HS, Panola College , P) with 5:42 to play, SAGU’s good fortune went awry.

JBU benefitted from a quick foul for two free throws, they scored on an offensive putback to the lead, 54-53. The Lady Lions countered with their own stickback when Monica Dorsey (Garland, Tx / Sachse HS ) cashed in on teammates' miss to regain a one point margin.

There was 4:04 remaining. Team Purple would not score again.

Another quick foul against SAGU, seven seconds later, sent Tristan Carrasquillo to the line. She stroked two freebies for a 56-55 upper hand. Still, 3:57 was showing.

The Purple Pride would miss their final nine shots and did not benefit from a single foul called against the hosts over the last 17 minutes.

Thanks to their defense and the fourth blocked shot by Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS ), SAGU still could take the lead, trailing by one in the final minute.

A Winston miss with thirteen seconds left was rebounded by SAGU. Following a timeout the plan was to get the ball to Winston. The lob in the paint was high and the Golden Eagles took possession.

The Pride hastily fouled, where Sierra Shipley split a pair to lift JBU to a 57-55 lead. Winston had a last gasp blast, but her desperation bid was short.

Shipley grabbed the carom with a second lingering. Her pair of free throws closed the scoring.

The final 5:42, since SAGU led 53-50, the Lady Lions made only 1-of-14 shots. JBU, 1-of-5 during the same time, answered by draining 7-of-8 foul shots in the clutch.

Head Coach Arlon Beadles described the last play, and then assessed the overall game.

“Down by a point, we had the ball. We ran a play to get the ball to Nia,” he said. “Jirah (Rodriguez) tried a pass that was stolen. We were then forced to foul.”

“They benefitted from doubling us in free throws. Nia got there (foul line) only once all night. That was tough.”

Winston, the league leader in scoring (18.9 ppg) and in attempted free throws (205) with seven tries per game, had one trip there on Saturday.

The Golden Eagles were able to hold her to 7-of-25 shots and 19 points. She fired four triples.

Her lone free throw came on a breakaway layup that was parlayed into a three-point play six minutes into the game. They were able to defend her last 20 shots without a whistle.

“It was a great game,” Beadles added, “back and forth all game. Our team is really playing well.”

“We had had great ball movement and just 11 turnovers tonight,” he continued. “A 47-36 advantage on the boards showed how well our team played. Maybe we can continue this into the playoffs.”

SAGU lost to JBU at home on January 16, 55-39.

Team Lioness overcame a 13-6 deficit with a sterling 21-5 surge to establish a 27-18. Winston poured in eleven during the uprising.

They had a nine-point lead on three more occasions, the last at 33-24 when Alexis McAfee (DeSoto, Tx / DeSoto HS ) assisted a layup by Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS ) 1:37 before halftime.

Like the end of the game, SAGU misfired late, erring on three shots. Shipley countered with a pair of three-balls to draw to within 33-30 at the break.

SAGU made 48% of their shots (13-of-27) and 4-of-5 free throws.

SAGU’s largest lead in the second half was six, when Winston launched a trifecta after a pass from fellow senior Roberts. It was 39-33 with 16:37 to go. The possession began when Laken Ward (Cleveland, Ark / Wonderview HS ) stole the ball from Kami Garrison.

In the second half the Lady Lions connected on just 23% (9-of-38).

JBU wasn’t much better; 35% (8-of-23), though they did produce 12-of-13 from the foul line.

Winston and Roberts were tops again.

Winston solidified her hold on the scoring lead with 19 points. She outscored her closest persuer, Wayland Baptist’s Angeleigh Davis, by 73 points.

Roberts grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds, six on offense, and scored 11 points. She racked up three assists and swatted four JBU shots.

Over the final seven games of the season she was credited with 69 boards and 19 blocks. In fact, the 6-foot Roberts was credited with at least one rejection in each of her final 22 games.

Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS ) chipped in nine points and four assists while Ward had six points and eight rebounds.

Shipley and Lauren Rogers had 20 and 15 points respectively for the Golden Eagles. Shipley also had five helpers and three steals.

The Lady Lions, who were picked in the preseason by SAC coaches to finish in ninth place, wrapped up their first season in the league in seventh.

SAC Tourney: SAGU plays St. Gregs at noon on Wednesday

They will play the 10th place team, St. Gregory's University (Ok) in the opening round of the conference tournament on Wednesday at noon. Should SAGU defeat the Cavaliers they will meet Oklahoma Baptist University at 12:30pm on Thursday.

The tourney will be hosted during March 5-8 by Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Ok.

John Brown finished in fourth with a 23-6 mark as well as a 15-5 ledger against SAC foes. Their home record, 14-2, was the most successful of the eleven teams.

Stars nip Bison at the wire to win the SAC

In the season’s biggest showdown, No. 5 Oklahoma City University scored the game’s final five points to upend No. 6 Oklahoma Baptist, 72-68. It clinched the regular season crown for the Stars (21-3 / 18-2 in SAC).

An 11-2 run by the Bison (25-5 / 17-3 in SAC) gave OBU the lead, 68-67, with 1:52 left on the clock. They missed their final four shots and suffered two turnovers, allowing the host Stars to rally for the title.

Kayla McKenzie utilized the sixth assist from Yvonte Neal for the go ahead basket at the 1:34 mark, and then added 3-of-4 free throws to secure the win.

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

SAC Standings:

Box Score and Play-by-Play:

Click on the underlined score to view the box score. Click on the split blue box (on the right) for the play-by-play accounts of the game.