The Southern women’s basketball team doesn’t have much time to dwell on its first loss of the season.
The Jaguars (1-1) visit Ole Miss (2-0) at 5 p.m. Thursday, less than 48 hours after they lost at Southeastern Louisiana 79-76.
Southern, which beat Mobile College 85-50 in its opener Friday, will be looking to get off to a better start than it did Tuesday. The Lady Lions jumped to a 36-24 halftime lead and led by as many as 18 points in the second half before the Jaguars heated up.
Though it led by five points in the second half and was tied with a minute and a half remaining, Southern couldn’t finish and lost despite outscoring Southeastern 52-43 after halftime.
One of the bright spots for the Jaguars was their bench play, including that of their newcomers. The Southern bench outscored the Lady Lions bench 22-13. Freshman guard Briana Green led the way with 10 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes.
Coach Sandy Pugh praised Green for her versatility and athleticism during the preseason.
“Brianna Green can get out there and guard a point guard and she can guard a post,” Pugh said. “She’s a rebounding phenom.”
The other three newcomers — Ashley Williams, Micah Garvin and Taylor Mack — combined to play 24 minutes and have eight points and two rebounds.
Pugh is using the pre-conference schedule, which features four more road games after Thursday before the Jaguars play again at home, to figure out her rotations and the newcomers’ roles.
“I’m just looking at it and trying to see how the chemistry piece is going to play out and what’s going to be effective, because it all comes down to conference,” she said. “When you get to conference, you want to be ready to go.”
Though Southern was outrebounded 45-39 against the Lady Lions, it forced 20 turnovers and scored 17 points off of them.
Ole Miss was even better at forcing turnovers in its past outing. The Rebels forced 46 turnovers, their most in eight years, which led to 51 of their points in a 91-38 victory against Mississippi Valley State on Sunday.
This will be Ole Miss’ third consecutive game against a Southwestern Athletic Conference opponent to begin the season. The Rebels defeated Grambling 92-67 in their opener Friday.
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.