SAGU trio garners high regional honors
GREENVILLE, South Carolina -- The National Christian College Athletic Association has announced that Southwestern Assemblies of God University had several representatives selected on the All-Central Regional team.
Chelsea Jones, a 5'8 senior forward, and Stephanie Hawkins, a 5-foot-5 senior guard, were both chosen by coaches to the 10-person team. Both rated high enough for All-America consideration, which will soon be announced.
Central Regional Coach of the Year: Arlon Beadles
Head Coach Arlon Beadles was named co-Coach of the Year along with Colorado Christian's Tim Hays. Picked by his peers is a high honor for coaches, and one that Beadles has now experienced six times. His SAGU Lady Lions have put together three consecutive seasons of 20+ wins, each garnering Beadles the Coaching 'Kudos.' They have been ranked nationally by the NAIA during each year.
The native of Sulphur Springs, Texas previously was selected on three occasions during a 21 year stint with the Emmanuel College Lions. The EC campus is located in Franklin Springs, Georgia, (northeast of Atlanta) which is a neighbor of Royston – an area known as the hometown of legendary baseball player Ty Cobb.
Southwestern got off to an 0-2 start in November. The Purple Pride then began to hit on all cylinders. They won their first eight league games, including a 5-0 run on the road. Hotter than grits on the griddle, the Lady Lions rolled to 13 victories during a 14-game stretch that contained a school record 10-game winning streak.
During that stretch SAGU defeated Texas State University, 68-66, in overtime, their first-ever triumph against an NCAA Division I team. While the game counted against the Lady Bobcats' record, it was considered an exhibition game by Southwestern. Only a series of nagging injuries and health issues slowed SAGU down the stretch. Another signature victory was a 59-56 road win over Texas Wesleyan University (28-5), when SAGU scored four points in the final two seconds to steal one against a very talented Lady Rams team who are in the NAIA national 32-team tourney.
All-Central Region MVP: Chelsea Jones
Jones was also named the Most Valuable Player of the Central Region, which is comprised primarily of colleges from Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Iowa. A native of San Antonio, Texas, Jones averages 16.5 points per game, which ranks #2 in the Red River Athletic Conference.
In the most recent NCCAA statistics report, Jones was the top scorer in the Central Region as well as #8 in the nation (roughly 50 teams). The Lions are currently 21-11 overall and are the top seeded team in the regional tournament, which takes place this weekend in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Jones went to Cornerstone Christian High School (SA, Tx) prior to enrolling at SAGU. Her M.O. is her consistency as a slasher and shooter, along with a nose for the ball on defense and mostly, true grit.
All-Central Regional Team: Stephanie Hawkins
Hawkins, who hails from nearby DeSoto, Texas, where she played for DeSoto H.S., was fifth in the balloting. Known for her savvy and ability to break down defenses with penetration drives and perimeter range jumpers, she has been a mainstay in the Lady Lions attack since her arrival. Hawkeye is scoring at an 11.5 ppg clip. She is eighth in the Central Region in points per game. Her ballhandling skills and knack for making plays on defense also describe the soft-spoken star.
The two players each scored 30 points apiece in SAGU's two RRAC tournament games last week.
Coach Beadles (pronounced like beatles) praised both players, crediting them with "helping turn our program around," he said. "They have been key performers and, along with a few others, have made quite an impact here."
"I am very proud of them as players," Beadles continued. "I'm also very proud of them for who they are. Stephanie and Chelsea are godly young women of great character that I believe will be successful in all of life."
The pair will be leading Southwestern this weekend when they travel to the regional tournament, which will be hosted by Mid-America Christian University in OKC.
The entire 2011 All-Region Team: (voting points in parenthesis)
Chelsea Jones (SAGU) 57; Christina Whitelaw (CCU) 51; Kristen Dixon (OWU) 44; Nicole Wittmann (MACU) 40; Stephanie Hawkins (SAGU) 31; Danyel Moses (SCU) 31; Felicia Stevenson (CCC) 31; Casey Williams (CBC) 29; Brittany Long (CCU) 25; LaPorchea Sanders (SCU) 21.
2011 Coach of the Year: (those receiving votes)
Arlon Beadles (SAGU) and Tim Hays (CCU), Britney Kannady (OWO).
Key: SAGU – Southwestern Assemblies of God University (Tx). CCU – Colorado Christian University. OWU – Oklahoma Wesleyan University. MACU – Mid-America Christian University (Ok). SCU – Southwestern Christian University (Ok). CCC – Central Christian College (Ks). CBC - Central Baptist College (Ark).