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Lady Lions roar to 27-point lead behind Winston, Rodriguez

Key games with USAO and Wesleyan this week

cox-vs-swcuBox Score, Play-by-Play (access below)

Current Standings:

WAXAHACHIE, Texas  --  Southwestern Assemblies of God University built a 27-point lead with fourteen minutes remaining and held off a furious comeback to edge Southwestern Christian University, 68-66, in a Saturday matinee at the Sheaffer Center.

Doing everything well, the Lady Lions dominated the game for nearly two-thirds. Nia Winston (Garland, Tx / Lakeview Centennial HS , Panola College), who poured in a game high 25 points, seldom missed and led a solid defensive performance with four steals.

Two other players joined her with standout exhibitions; junior Jirah Rodriguez (Georgetown, Tx / Georgetown HS ) and Charity Page (Nacogdoches, Tx / Nacogdoches HS ).

Rodriguez had her second double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Page netted seven points while yanking down 10 boards. She blocked a shot and swiped the ball on one occasion.

SAGU leveled their record at 11-11 and improved their Sooner Athletic Conference mark to 5-7. They are in a three-way tie for sixth place in the league with Southwestern Christian (7-13 / 5-7 in SAC) and Texas Wesleyan University (9-11 / 5-7 in SAC).

The Lady Lions have a chance this week to move up in the standings.

Thursday the Purple Pride is at University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) at 6:00pm. SAGU defeated the Lady Drovers (3-11 / 2-9 in SAC), 78-54, last month.

Fans can watch the game on livestream video or follow on a LiveStats webcast.

Next Saturday, February 8, the Lady Lions entertain their rivals from Texas Wesleyan. The game tips off at 3:00pm.

Lady Lions take 27-point lead on 45-14 run

Against the SCU Lady Eagles, the Pride fell into an early 9-5 hole. They finished the half on a 29-9 run with Winston and Rodriguez contributing 12 and nine points respectively.

Coach Arlon Beadles’ team led at intermission, 34-18, after connecting on 12 of 27 (44%) of their shots.

Their defense completely shut down the Eagles. The visitors made just six of their 32 (19%) tries. Both teams had 22 rebounds, though SCU had outhustled Team Purple in grabbing 11 offensive rebounds.

When Winston gunned a three-ball, thanks to a pass from Shaquita Roberts (San Antonio, Tx / Byron Steele HS ), the Lady Lions had a 50-23 lead with 14:20 remaining.

Unlike a few recent games, the team came out strong to start the second half. Five different players scored during a six-minute, 16-5 surge.

Playing with a large lead, the squad began misfiring and turning the ball over. Down the stretch they made only 7-of-23 shots, including 2-of-3 from long distance.

Especially costly were six turnovers and making only 6-of-11 free throws. Permitting four offensive rebounds late in the game led quickly to four baskets.

Winston only had two shots over the final fourteen minutes. She made one, a triple with 10:19 to go.

Simultaneously, Southwestern Christian’s production was met with a spatula.

They played with a sense of urgency that witnessed them convert 9-of-16 two-point shots and 5-of-10 from outside the arc.

Coupled with their 54% accuracy from the field, they swished 10-of-12 free throws.

The Lady Lions made several big baskets to counter the resurgent Eagles. Page scored inside and Kassy Cox (Lufkin, Tx / Lufkin HS ) converted an offensive putback. Winston sank 3-of-4 free throws.

But one sequence proved huge. Following Roberts' block a certain SCU layup, Rodriguez buried a trifecta for a 60-45 lead with 6:16 on the clock. Then she tossed in a jumper to maintain that lead at 62-47 (5:47).

The Eagles reduced the deficit to 64-61 on an old-fashioned three-point play by Adrianna White.

Winston answered with two clutch foul shots at 0:52 before Taylor Hill (Waxahachie, Tx / Waxahachie HS) split a pair for a 67-61 lead with twenty-nine seconds left.

Lydia Ross launched a three-pointer at the 0:18 mark. Three seconds later Winston sank one-of-two from the charity stripe to give SAGU a 68-64 upper hand.

Ross added a midrange jumper to close the scoring, then SAGU missed a free throw with three seconds to go.

The Eagles attempt to get the ball upcourt was thwarted when Rodriguez batted the ball away in the backcourt as time expired.

Ross was tops in scoring for SCU with 22 points, ten more than her previous season high. The Eagles finished the game making only 33% of their shots. The Lions were true on 42%.

Turnovers were even (18 apiece), as were free throws made (16).

The difference was rebounding, where SCU held a 44-40 margin, which included an 18-12 edge on the offensive glass.

It enabled them to establish a 66 to 55 surplus in shots attempted.  It was almost enough.

SAGU swept both games this season, including a 57-52 victory in Bethany, Oklahoma.

The win surpasses last year’s total (10) with eight games left; five of them at home.

Contact: Mark “Link” Warde, SAGU Sports Information Director, at or at 468-658-2847.

Box Score:

Click on the underlined score to view the official Box Score. Click on the split blue box on the right to see the play-by-play accounts of the game.

TEAM NOTES / Lady Lions in the Top:

Cats in Sooner Stats - Nia Winston maintains her lead atop the SAC in scoring with an 18.05 points per game average. She is fourth in steals (2.32 spg) while Taylor Hill is eighth (2.00).

Laken Ward is 10th in rebounding, latching on to 6.6 per game. Shaquita Roberts as 13th at 6.4 rpg. Shaq leads the SAC in blocking shots. She has 46, averaging 2.1 per game.

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