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Winston leads the league and SAGU in scoring

Watch the game on video livestream

ward-battles-abc-for-reboundWAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  The Southwestern Assemblies of God University women’s basketball team are wasting no time in assessing the talent level in their first season as members of the Sooner Athletic Conference.

Thursday night, January 2, they play their first league game against Oklahoma Baptist University (8-2), the No. 9 ranked team in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

The game is set for a 6:00pm (CST) start at the 2,400 seat Mabee Center in Shawnee, Oklahoma (40 miles east of OKC).

Fans can watch the game on livestream video at the following link:

The game spotlights two teams will decidedly different schemes.

OBU scores 79 points a game while SAGU limits their foes to just 56.

The Lady Bison connect on 44% of their shots, which is second best in the SAC. The Lady Lions permit their opponents to make only 32% - the best in the SAC.

Head Coach Arlon Beadles has enough firepower on offense to give the Purple Pride a chance against anyone, provided their defense is effective.

One area that hasn’t come up to speed during SAGU’s 6-4 start is their interior rebounding. Part of the issue is that new forward recruits have battled foul trouble as well as making the adjustment to the college game.

The team is seventh in the Sooner in rebounding margin, grabbing 39, yielding 38, an area that will require more toughness and fewer whistles.

A huge positive has been the play of senior guard Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial HS ). After missing most of last season to an injury, she now leads the SAC with 17.6 points per game.

She has knocked down 22 three-pointers and 75% of her free throw attempts.

Winston is taking better care of the ball, evidenced by her committing only 15 turnovers in 10 games. Added to that, she leads the team in assists with 26.

The Lady Lions need secondary scorers to begin finding the range. After Winston, the next SAGU player to appear in the SAC stats is Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS ) at No. 40.

She, too, has returned after nearly two seasons, and averages 9.3 ppg.

Sophomore point guard Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS ) led the team in scoring a year ago at 11.4, has been coming on of late. Plus, she is tops in steals with 23.

SAGU looks for increased production from center Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS ) and freshmen forwards Laken Ward (Cleveland, Ark / Wonderview HS ) and Charity Page (Nacogdoches, Tx / Nacogdoches HS ).

Roberts has finished either first or second in the NAIA in blocking shots in each of her last two seasons.

OBU has five players spreading the wealth on offense, paced by 6’1 senior center, Jalissa Council. She leads in scoring at 13.1 ppg.

Janell Beacham, a senior guard, is next at 12.1 ppg. Zbeyda Aremi, a 6’4 center from Tunisia, adds 10.5 ppg and a team leading 6.2 rebounds per game average.

Charity Fowler, the SAC’s most recent Player of the Week, nets 10.3 ppg.

All four players have latched onto at least 21 offensive rebounds.

SAGU’s leaders on the offensive glass are Roberts (28) and Ward (24).

An interesting match-up in the middle will feature a pair of fly-swatters in Roberts and Aremi. Roberts is tied for SAC lead in blocked shots with 18. Aremi has 16.

Conference home opener on Saturday at 3:00pm

SAGU will return to the court on Saturday afternoon when they host Mid-America Christian University at 3:00pm (CST). The Lady Evangels are 8-3 overall and lead the conference at 2-0.

SAGU Sports Live will broadcast the game in HD. The pre-game show begins at 2:45pm.

Host Rob Price and Tim Roberts will bring the action from the Sheaffer Center.

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

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