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SAGU has 14-point second half lead crumble during Cavs' comeback

Seniors Winston, Roberts lead Pride in scoring and rebounds

On Deck: NCCAA Regional next week in Edmond, Ok

Box Score and Play-by-Play  (access below article)

winston-layup-stgSHAWNEE, Oklahoma  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s basketball team fell in overtime, 67-66, to St. Gregory’s University on Wednesday in the opening round of the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament.

The Lady Lions had a 66-65 overtime lead and possession of the ball with 0:59 showing on the Mabee Arena scoreboard. A critical five second violation against SAGU gave the ball to the crosstown underdogs.

The Cavaliers worked the ball around the perimeter searching for an open shot. Kylee Tatum, a sophomore guard, eventually passed to Courtney Leach, a 5’8 freshman, who was fourteen feet from the basket.

Leach, averaging 5.1 points per game, dribbled as she moved towards the low, right block, then pulled up and lifted a 10-foot runner over the outstretched arm of Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS ). A 34% shooter, she nailed it with seven seconds to play.

SAGU’s Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial HS ) sped upcourt but her 15-foot jumper went begging.

The Lady Lions, now 14-17, will regroup for next week’s National Christian College Athletic Association’s Central Regional in Edmond, Oklahoma.

The tourney was originally set for Bartlesville, Ok., but will now be hosted at Oklahoma Christian University, just 14 miles north of OKC. Five teams are currently entered.

Leading for much of the game by double-figures the Lady Lions’ punchless offense couldn’t knock out an opponent they had routed twice during the regular season

SAGU led by 14 points, 52-38, with 12:20 remaining in the game after a 6-0 run that was capped by a pair of free throws by Winston.

There was little indication at the time that their season-long struggle with finishing games strongly would continue. It did.

St. Greg’s, who entered the game with only three victories all season, with their backs against the wall, mounted a 21-5 run to take their first lead at 59-57.

Over eight-minutes the Lady Lions made just 2-of-10 shots, 1-of-3 foul shots and committed six turnovers. The Cavaliers (4-23 record) came into the game yielding 81 points per game, 96th of 102 teams in the NAIA.

They proved to be up to the task when the outcome was on the line.

At the same time St. Greg’s converted 8-of-16 shots, grabbed three offensive rebounds, swished four three-pointers and both of their free throws.

The Purple Pride reclaimed the lead, 60-59, when Alexis McAfee (DeSoto, Tx / DeSoto HS ) set up a three-ball by Winston with 3:59 to go.

Two more offensive rebounds led to a putback basket by Lexi Huff, which was answered by a Laken Ward (Cleveland, Ark / Wonderview HS ) stickback that gave the Lady Lions a 62-61 advantage with 1:31 to go.

The Lions missed their final shot, an attempted three-pointer, and then turned the ball over after grabbing a defensive rebound. Taylor Koelsch split a pair from the charity stripe with twenty-three ticks on the clock to knot the score. SAGU turned the ball over twice in two remaining possessions.

Both teams exchanged a pair of free throws; SAGU’s were netted by Winston, which kept the score deadlocked at 64.

Following a missed shot and SAGU’s 21st turnover, the team’s next possession witnessed their lone basket in the five-minute overtime.

Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS ) spotted a crease in the Cavs’ defense and drove for a layup and a 66-64 lead at 1:36.

St. Greg’s 16th offensive rebound was grabbed by Tatum with a minute to play. She made one, and then missed the second of two from the foul line at 0:59. Ward latched onto the rebound.

Twenty-three seconds later the Lady Lions offense made their 22nd and final turnover when Ward was tied up for five seconds. The Cavaliers parlayed the error into the game-winning bucket to stun the heavily-favored Pride.

“I commend St. Gregory’s players and coaching staff for a job well done,” said Lady Lions Head Coach Arlon Beadles.

“At points in the game we were inefficient on offense. We went for extended periods of time without scoring,” he added. “That’s something that can’t happen in the Sooner Conference where so many great teams reside. It opens the door for opponents.”

“Even though I am disappointed with the loss, it was a great experience for our players.”

In overtime SAGU made 1-of-7 shots. From the 12:20 mark in the second half, they were outscored 29-14. During that 17:20 part of the game (including OT) they made 5-of-23 shots (21%) while making 10 turnovers.

For the game the Lady Lions shot 41% while limiting St. Greg’s to 32%. SAGU also won the battle of the boards, 48-39. Those numbers usually spell victory.

But the Cavaliers were hungrier on this day, evidenced by their 16 boards on offense. They held a 9-to-4 margin in triples and their bench outscored SAGU’s reserves 26-10; St. Greg substitutes made 8-of-24, six of them trifectas. They committed three turnovers.

The Lady Lions back-ups were 4-of-12 with one trey and seven turnovers.

Even through SAGU made more baskets than St. Gregory’s, the extra-possessions given to the opposition by turnovers and offensive boards allowed them to have a 65-55 edge in shots.

Winston had a game-high 24 points, though the Cavs forced her to earn them on the line, where she stroked 13-of-15. She was also credited with three thefts.

Hill was 6-of-11 from the field during a 16 point performance. Both Winston and Hill racked up four assists apiece.

Roberts scored nine points, reeled in 14 rebounds, blocked four shots and made three steals. Ward accounted for six points and 10 rebounds.

Tatum came off the bench to lead the Cavs with 17 points, including four triples. Koelsch and Danielle Patillo scored 14 and 10 respectively.

SAGU, who never trailed in the first half, built a 10-point lead on a layup by Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS ). At intermission the Lady Lions led, 36-28, having made 12-of-24 shots.

Their opponent connected on only 29% (9-of-31).

A week ago the Lady Lions rolled past St. Greg’s, 70-46. In their first meeting they topped the Cavs in a 64-42 verdict.

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

Box Score:

Click on the underlined score for the box score. Click on the split blue box (icon) on the right for the game's play-by-play.