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SAGU comes up short to No. 19 John Brown, 55-39

Defense holds Golden Eagles 15-points under their average

winston-drives-usaoWAXAHACHIE, Texas  - - Southwestern Assemblies of God University, unable to overcome a slow start and a quick deficit, tumbled in a 55-39 loss at the hands of No. 19 ranked John Brown University on Thursday at the Sheaffer Center.

Two days after playing their best game of the season in setback to No. 3 Oklahoma City University, the Lady Lions missed seven of their first nine shots while also making four turnovers.

They fell behind 11-4, but did rally to draw to within three on three occasions; 11-8 on back-to-back Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial HS ) baskets, 16-13 after a Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS ) triple and layup by Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS ), then 18-15 on two Winston foul shots.

While Team Purple held the Golden Eagles 15 points under their average, they were felled by the best defense in the Sooner Athletic Conference.

SAGU connected on just 29% of their shots in the first half and finished at 31% (15 of 48). The Lady Lions were outrebounded 37-27, grabbing only five on the offensive glass.

Still, the squad was still within 24-17 at intermission.

JBU, who lead the SAC by making 9.5 three-pointers per game, managed just 2-of-12 in the first half. That changed quickly.

The gold-cladded visitors knocked down four-of-six treys in the first four minutes of the second half in a 14-6 run to build a 38-23 lead.

Eliana Fernandez was credited with two of them as the Eagles, like they did to start the game, charged out of the gate again to take control of the game.

The closest the Lady Lions came the rest of the way was 10-points. Scores from Alexis McAfee (DeSoto, Tx / DeSoto HS ) and Sierra Hankins (Welch, Ok / Welch HS ) on assists by Winston and Brittany Griffin (Rockwall, Tx / Rockwall Christian ) sliced SAGU’s deficit to 45-35.

John Brown countered with a Kortni Barenberg layup and another Fernandez trifecta to reestablish the lead to 50-35 with five minutes remaining.

“We played hard we but faced a team that really ran their offense well,” said SAGU Head Coach Arlon Beadles. “They were very efficient.”

“We just could not score. Give John Brown credit,” he pointed out. “They are an excellent team.”

“Hopefully we learned tonight what you have to do to win in the Sooner conference.”

Misfires in the paint by SAGU proved costly when JBU converted their layups and short jump-shots.

Winston produced 14 points to pace the offensive attack, aided by a 6-of-6 effort on the foul line. She was also credited with four steals, which tied her career best.

Rodriguez came off the bench to make two triples for six points.

Freshman Charity Page (Nacogdoches, Tx / Nacogdoches HS ) was tops in rebounds with four.

SAGU’s zone defense was effective in squeezing 18 turnovers from the Golden Eagles. The Lady Lions did so with a limited physicality (five fouls).

In the team’s third loss in four games, they were whistled for seven or fewer fouls in two of them. Of 102 NAIA Division I teams, SAGU is 99th in personal fouls, averaging just 15 per contest.

JBU placed three in double digits; Fernandez (17), Barenberg (16) and Sierra Shipley (11). Fernandez was 5-of-6 beyond the arc, with Sierra going 3-of-8.

Kami Garrison led both teams on the boards with five. Her ability to set up teammates in scoring position with passes was noteworthy.

The 6’1 senior forward was credited with a career-best eight assists. She is averaging 2.9 helpers per game.

The Golden Eagles finished the game by making .404 of their shots. They matched their season average in triples per game with nine. In the second half they were true on half of their 14 attempts.

Lady Lions take to the road

SAGU travels to Shawnee, Oklahoma on Saturday where they will tangle with St. Gregory’s University (2-10 / 1-5 in SAC) at 3:00pm (CST).

Fans can follow the play-by-play, score, and both team and player statistics in real time via LiveStats. Visit:

Then locate the St. Gregory’s vs SAGU game.

The team’s next home game is February 8 against Texas Wesleyan University.

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

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