The Southern women’s basketball team lost at Grambling four weeks ago when it couldn’t hold on to a late lead.
The Jaguars made sure that didn’t happen in the rematch Saturday afternoon in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. They opened a 14-point lead in less than 12 minutes and maintained a double-digit margin the rest of the way in an 80-52 victory.
Southern won its seventh consecutive game to improve to 8-2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and 10-10 overall. It hosts Jackson State on Monday.
The Lady Tigers, who used a 12-4 finishing run to win by a point in the first meeting, are 4-6 and 7-14.
The Jaguars played one of their most efficient offensive games of the season, matching their season-high for points against an NCAA opponent and surpassing their previous high in a SWAC game by three points.
They dominated inside, outscoring the Lady Tigers in the paint 36-16 and on second-chance points 18-6. They were also efficient with their jump shooting, leading to balanced scoring.
“We knew what we had to do and where the shots were going to come from,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said. “We just needed to move the ball, and we did that. There were times we moved it so well that the ball never touched the floor.”
Britney Washington scored a game-high 21 points, making 10-of-18 field goals. Kendra Coleman scored 19 after making 8-of-15 shots, Jasmine Jefferson had 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, and Briana Green had 11 points and nine rebounds. Washington chipped in 10 rebounds as Southern had a 54-28 edge on the boards. Jefferson and Coleman each had four of the Jaguars’ 18 assists.
“We were very, very efficient,” Coleman said. “I was really proud of how we moved the basketball. We played off of each other and really played well as a team.”
Yosha Watson led Grambling with 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, and Shakierya McClendon scored 10 points.
Southern, which outscored Grambling 22-6 in the paint in taking a 15-point halftime lead, began the second half with a quick push. Green scored on a put-back, Coleman made a jumper, and Bunny Scott had a steal and a layup for a 47-26 lead.
The Jaguars led by as many as 29 points in the second half as Green and Coleman scored eight each and Washington had 11 despite playing with flu-like symptoms.
“(Teammates) were joking with me after the game,” Washington said. “They said I should get sick every game.”
Grambling got off to a good start by making all of its first five field goals near the basket and taking an 11-9 lead.
But Southern increased its defensive intensity, and the Lady Tigers didn’t score for nearly seven minutes.
The Jaguars shared the basketball efficiently as they took control. Coleman made a layup and Green converted a three-point play. Jefferson made consecutive baskets, then Washington did the same. Coleman’s 3-pointer concluded a 16-0 run that gave Southern a 25-11 lead.
Six Jaguars made baskets as the lead grew to 39-20. Grambling showed a little life by scoring six straight points, but Washington made a steal with two seconds left and her buzzer-beating layup sent the Jaguars into halftime with a 41-26 lead.