The Southern women’s basketball team has been eagerly awaiting a rematch with Alabama State.
The Jaguars feel their 60-59 overtime loss to the Lady Hornets on Jan. 23 in the F.G. Clark Activity Center was a game they should have won.
“They stole one here on us,” coach Sandy Pugh said. “That was a hard pill to swallow. We’ve been focusing in on playing them since that happened.”
That victory was the fourth game in a 10-game winning streak that ASU (12-9, 10-2 SWAC) has going into the rematch at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome in Montgomery. Southern is 13-9 and 10-3. The game can be viewed online at BamaStateSports.com/showcase.
In the first meeting the Lady Hornets jumped to a 19-8 lead after one quarter, led 27-24 at halftime and 47-44 after three quarters.
“We’re going to go into this game with a chip on our shoulder for sure,” guard Cortnei Purnell said. “I would expect us to play a lot harder and jump out on them a lot sooner in the game.”
The Jaguars took a three-point lead in the fourth before ASU came back to force overtime. Southern committed four turnovers in overtime and the Lady Hornets prevailed after making two free throws with seven seconds left.
Pugh said she plans to start junior Kadesha Berry at point guard for a second consecutive game. Berry replaced freshman Skylar O’Bear for a 78-26 victory against Mississippi Valley State on Monday.
“It’s not that Sky has done anything wrong,” Pugh said. “She just hasn’t been facilitating the fast break the way I want to see it and Kadesha loves the fast break, so I wanted to see us get out in transition.
“Point guard is not Sky’s natural position. She does a better job of taking care of the basketball. However, she’s got to learn that we’ve got to go. It’s like we’ve got this race car and we’re not driving it. We’re not getting it out on the track enough. I want to push.”
Against undermanned Mississippi Valley, the Jaguars had a season-high 36 fast-break points, a 50 percent increase over their previous high against Alabama A&M and Jackson State and far more than the seven they averaged prior to Monday.
“I thought she did some good things,” Pugh said. “Most importantly the team got behind her. That’s going to be big going into Saturday — getting her the reps at the position and getting the team comfortable with her there.”
Berry had four points, three rebounds and two assists in 14 minutes.
“She brings speed,” Purnell said. “I like the way she pushes the ball. She helps us with our transition offense. It’s a different look and it’s good for us right now.”