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Veteran women's coach cites toughest losses too

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Since joining the NAIA in 1999, the Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s basketball team has produced four winning seasons, three of them under current Head Coach Arlon Beadles.

The men’s team has had two consecutive campaigns over .500 since the arrival of Head Coach Donnie Bostwick.

This coming season could be the year they both do it at the same time!

Over this past winter Beadles enjoyed his 200th career win while coaching women’s hoops. He previous enjoyed plenty of success while leading men’s teams.

A graduate of Southern Nazarene University (Bethany, Ok), he recently listed the most impactful wins during his eight seasons at SAGU.  His warmth and Southern hospitality belie a pretty tough coach on Game Day. 

The purple and gold have put together 91 wins in their last five campaigns. A defensive scheme that frustrates the opposition has often been at the heart of the Lady Lions' success.

Biggest Win: Feb. 8, 2010

SAGU 71, at Langston University 61

“At that time,” he said, “no one in our league (Red River Athletic Conference) had beaten them on their court in four years. So this was huge.”

“We had defeated them at home the year before, so we were confident,” he pointed out.

The Lady Lions dominated for much of the game. Making 26-of-46 shots (56%) enabled them to control the pace. They led at the half, 34-29, and held the hosts to 37% shooting, while winning the boards by a 33-30 count.

SAGU’s zone frustrated Langston, who connected on only 8-of-30 from beyond the arc. Team Purple was 7-of-13.

Earlier in the season Langston edged SAGU in Waxahachie, 53-47, despite making only 31% from the field and was forced into 24 turnovers.

In the rematch, Southwestern’s starting line-up scored all 71 points. Talented and cohesive, the quintet all reached double figures; small forward Chelsea Jones had 19, point guard Stephanie Hawkins 15, center Michelle Michener 13, guard Heather Jefferson 12 and forward Nicole Linen 12.

So effective was Linen on defense that she led the nation in steals that season.

Michener and Jefferson grabbed nine and eight rebounds respectively.

Another memorable win came during the RRAC tournament that season when SAGU won an overtime thriller, 74-70, over Texas Wesleyan University. Jones, held to one basket through regulation, broke free to finish with all 10 of the Lady Lions points in OT. She ended with 17 points.

Langston and SAGU met a third time that season in the RRAC tournament final. Langston came away with an impressive 70-61 win.

SAGU also topped Langston in 2009, thumping LU 64-56 in the Sheaffer Center. It wasn’t that close. The Lady Lions built a 41-22 cushion at intermission and coasted.

Jones and Linen led the way with 20 and 14 points.

The 2011 campaign was highlighted with a crucial road win at Texas Wesleyan in a season when the Lady Rams rolled to a 28-6 record.

The Lady Lions rallied for a stunning win when forward Gabby Bruner sank a pair of free throws in the final ten seconds for a 57-56 lead. She also led the team with 13 rebounds that night.

Jones then stole the inbounds pass and drained a jumper for a 59-56 triumph. Jefferson’s play was the key to victory, pouring in 21.

That March the Lady Lions advanced to the 2011 NCCAA Nationals in Indiana, where they won two of three games; 74-63 over King College (Tenn) and 57-46 against Emmanuel College (Ga).

Hawkins had a career night, crowning King with 29 points.

Jones bucketed 19 and Rachel Harris tossed in 13 and Hawkins, who was named to the All-Tourney team, added 11 as Team Purp led from start to finish.

Two standout wins over the past two seasons, years marked by key injuries, included a 63-59 home conquest of a 20-win Wiley College team, and a 79-76 barnburner over Texas College last winter.

Shaquita Roberts scored 18, latched onto 13 rebounds and rejected six shots attempted by the Wildcats. Nia Winston chipped in with 16 points.

SAGU blew a twenty point lead last year against the TC Lady Steers, and then regrouped to win in the final minute. Freshman Taylor Hill accounted for 23 points.

Toughest Setback:  2009 vs. Jarvis

Coach Beadles said the toughest loss in his tenure at SAGU came during the semi-finals of the 2009 RRAC tourney.

After Hawkins netted 19 and Jones another 15 in a 61-52 opening round win over Texas Wesleyan, the Lady Lions dropped a frustrating 65-58 decision to Jarvis Christian College (19-10 record) on March 6.

Team Lioness won 25 games that season, but Jarvis earned the NAIA tourney berth by virtue of that win in Waxahachie.

To top it off, in spite of a school record for victories, “not getting an invitation from the NCCAA was especially tough to take," according to Beadles.

The Lady Lions, with a healthy returning cast and a round-up of incoming recruits, this winter could see a fifth successful venture on the hardwood.

He expects to announce the acquisition of another prep standout this weekend.

The savvy Southern mentor is comfortable in a winning saddle. It sure won’t be his first rodeo.

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

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