Nia Winston Signs with Lady Lions
That’s the Point!
SAGU signs third Point Guard
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The value of a skilled point guard is aggressively sought by coaches. Having just graduated four key players who were backcourt ball-handlers, the women’s basketball team at Southwestern Assemblies of God University has been seeking to land guards, especially those who can run the team’s offense.
Veteran head coach Arlon Beadles announced his fifth guard recruit, three who are point guards, last week. Nia Sitara Winston, who played her prep career at Garland’s Lakeview Centennial High School, signed a National Letter of Intent to suit up as a Lady Lion this fall. Winston’s services were also being sought by other teams in the Red River Athletic Conference.
Winston is transferring to SAGU after one season at Panola Junior College, located in Carthage, 58 miles east of Tyler, Texas. She will be immediately eligible and still has three years to play for the Purple Pride. At 5-foot-8, she also brings height along with her other abilities.
“Nia (pronounced NEE-ah) could be one of the top point guards in the RRAC,” Beadles said. “I really feel she could be a key player to make our team into one of the best in the conference,” he added.
The venerable Beadles values depth and his experience has shown him that talent must be actualized on the court. “This recruiting class has a solid chance to be a good one,” he observed. “But you never know until they get on the floor and into the fire of the RRAC.”
Hence the need to bring in three who can play the “one guard” position, also known as point guard. Of the trio coming to Southwestern in September, one is a defensive standout, and another will redshirt her freshman campaign. Then there is Winston.
Turning twenty in October, the sophomore averaged 5.3 points per game for the Panola College “Fillies” and veteran head coach Tracey Stellato. She was credited with 1.4 assists per outing.
Prior to that she enjoyed a superior stint at Lakeview Centennial, a Class 5A program. Under coach Neal Rapheal, she was a First Team All-District performer. The Lady Patriots were ranked in the Top Twenty, where Winston was named the Most Valuable Player of the squad and the Offensive Player of the Year in the district.
During her senior season she poured in 14.9 ppg and racked up 4.5 assists per contest.
SAGU’s Winning Ways
The past three seasons has seen the Lady Lions contend for the title of one of the best conferences in Division I of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Coach Beadles’ ballclub has produced 24-8, 25-8 and 23-13 records, earning a berth in the 32-team NAIA national tournament as well as advancing to a third place national finish in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA Division I) last season.
Southwestern has appeared in the NAIA weekly Coaches Poll in each of the past three years.
SAGU graduated All-American Chelsea Jones (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian), Stephanie Hawkins (DeSoto, Tx / DeSoto HS), Heather Jefferson (Conroe, Tx / Conroe HS) and Rachel Harris (Joshua, Tx / Bethesda Christian) this spring.
The team will return a solid inside game, led by forwards Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS) and Gabby Bruner (Peaster, Tx / Peaster HS) and center Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS). The healthy return of 6’1 Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS), the #2 shot blocker in the nation as a freshman, could be the X-factor for a team wanting more interior toughness.
A Changing of the Guards
What remains are questions about the backcourt. A recruiting class that will likely bring bonafide help at guard would be a tonic to the team. Two or three in this year’s class might be starting. Sophomore point guard Andrea Lugo (San Antonio, Tx / Somerset HS) will vie for the starting role at point guard, basketball’s version of a quarterback.
According to Wikipedia, “A true point guard's job is to create scoring opportunities for his team. The role includes passing and running the offense: setting up plays on the court, getting the ball to the teammate that he feels is in the best position to score, and dictating the tempo of the game. This also means knowing when and how to instigate a fast break and when and how to initiate the more deliberate sets.”
No wonder those who can effectively direct their team’s attack are in such high demand. What a great opportunity to take the reins of one of the RRAC’s contenders!
The Lady Lions are sure to be young, able and potentially gelling at the right time of the season; the Red River tournament in March.
SAGU Lady Lions 2011-12 Recruiting Class
|PLAYER||CLASS||HT||POS||HOMETOWN / PREVIOUS SCHOOL|
|Okievia Bratchett||Fr||5'4||PG||Tenaha, TX / Tenaha HS|
|Kassy Cox||So||6'1||F-C||Lufkin, TX / Lufkin HS|
|Brittany Griffin||Fr||5'11||PF||Rockwall, TX / Rockwall Christian|
|Cordia Harvatin||Fr||5'8||G||San Antonio, TX / Stacey HS|
|Bethany Krock*||Fr||5'4||PG||San Antonio, TX / Cornerstone Christian|
|Sascha Lewis||Fr||5'4||G||Lufkin, TX / Hudson HS|
|Nia Winston||So||5'8||PG||Garland, TX / Panola College, Lakeview Centennial|
|*will Redshirt this season|