A talented LSU-Shreveport women’s basketball team held off an enthused Southwestern Assemblies of God University team, 58-47, Thursday night at the Sheaffer Center.
The No. 17 Lady Pilots (9-1, 4-0 in RRAC) won their sixth consecutive game while SAGU (4-8, 1-5) dropped their third in a row.
The Lady Lions made LSUS work for the victory by frustrating them with a zone defense that limited the guests to 31 percent shooting accuracy.
They were averaging more than 70 points a game with a margin of victory of at least 20 points prior to facing Southwestern.
What did in a young Lioness squad were their own turnovers, 25, too many of them unforced.
While converting 33 percent, the mistakes gift-wrapped extra possessions for the River Runners, who were able to take 13 more shots than the hosts.
The miscues prevented them from sustaining rallies as LSUS were able to control the lead, even with limited efficiency.
The Lady Pilots cashed in on a pair of turnovers in the final minute of the first half to extend a 26-23 advantage to 31-23 at the half.
Fifteen second half turnovers, seven by SAGU guards, eight by forwards, thwarted the Lady Lions.
SAGU spent the duration staying within striking distance of 8-12 points, but never seriously threatening.
The closest the Lady Lions came was at 31-26, when Sierra Hankins completed a three-point play.
They drew to within eight on four occasions (38-30, 40-32, 42-34, 52-44) only to fall behind by 10-12 points. LSUS built their largest lead at 14 (48-34) with 9:45 remaining.
Displaying a never-say-die heart, the Lady Lions went on a 13-6 run to trail, 54-47, at the 1:08 mark.
The run started when Kassy Cox saved a ball from going out of bounds, pivoted, and spotted Hankins on the baseline for a 12-foot jumper.
Before SAGU could score again, they committed four straight turnovers.
Freshman forward Jessica Sodich made a steal which led to her own three-point bomb, slicing the deficit to 49-39 with just 4:25 on the clock, a gap of three and one-half minutes.
Taylor Hill, of Waxahachie, added a pair of free throws and then angled down the lane for a layup, was fouled, and completed a three-point play at the 2:46 mark. SAGU trailed 52-44.
After Hill missed the front end of a one-and-one at 2:15, LSUS milked the clock without getting off a shot. That led to a well-executed play in which Hill sent a pass to Sodich at the top of the key.
There, the freshman flyer drained a trifecta, her fourth in the game, to come to within 54-47. The missed opportunities earlier loomed large as the game clock was no ally.
The Lady Pilots iced the game with an offensive putback and two foul shots.
SAGU can hang a hat on their defensive effort in the second half. They held LSUS to shooting just 26 percent from the field while finding the range for 41 percent of their own shots.
The Lady Pilots countered by tossing in 9 of 10 second half free throws while controlling the boards, 37-29, 15-8 on the offensive glass.
Hill and Sodich led the Lady Lions with 16 and 13 points, respectively. Hill had three assists and two turnovers, while Sodich finished with a season-high four treys and eight rebounds.
Hankins netted nine points in 17 minutes, while Cox added two points and eight boards.
Both were sidelined with minor physical setbacks before returning to play. In their stead, SAGU received no offense from other forwards.
On Monday, the Lady Lions will face Wesleyan (8-2, 4-1 in RRAC) at Fort Worth’s Sid Richardson Center at 5:30 p.m.