Southern senior forward Briana Green doesn’t put much thought into preseason predictions.
Green, a four-year starter, was named first-team All-Southwestern Conference, and the Jaguars were picked to finish fourth in the SWAC, the league’s coaches and sports information directors announced in October.
“That’s what they say,” Green said. “But that’s not the final thought. I’m not really worried about it. I know what’s going to happen at the end of the season, that’s all I’m going to say.
“It should be a very, very, very exciting season."
Entering her 19th season, Southern coach Sandy Pugh and the Jaguars’ 2017-18 season begins Saturday, when Southern hosts the University of Mobile at 3 p.m. at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
The season opener is Southern's sole game in Baton Rouge until Jan. 6. The Jaguars spend the first two months of the season away from Louisiana, including trips to Auburn, Oklahoma State, Indiana and Wisconsin.
This season’s team has potential to be better than any other in Pugh’s tenure, she said.
“In 19 years, I think when it’s all set and done, this team has potential to go down as one of my best teams ever," she said.
The Jaguars enter this season with seven freshmen listed on their roster, so neophytes are prevalent.
“I think we have a lot of new faces that a lot of people are going to be shocked about,” Green said.
Freshman point guard Tiamya Butler, a scrappy 5-foot-6 athlete, has potential to surpass veterans and assume Southern’s starting point guard position at some point during the season.
For now, Southern plans to deploy its point guard position by committee, featuring junior Courtney Parsons, the tentative starter; junior Skylar O’Bear; and Butler.
“In all my point guards, I have a lot of confidence,” Green said. “Every point guard has not disappointed me, so I don’t really have a problem. I’m just excited, to be completely honest, for everyone to come in and show what they can contribute to be successful and win a championship.”
With an expanded, more diverse scoring ability, Southern’s team has championship potential, Pugh said. Unlike last season, Southern won't have to rely heavily on departed seniors Cortnei Purnell and Miaya Crowder, both of whom graduated.
Even without them, Southern has more offensive firepower this season, and it’s a good thing, Pugh says.
“This team is going to be as good as we were last year, if not better,” Pugh said. “Hopefully defensively we’ll be stronger. Our ability to score the basketball in multiple ways, I think, is going to be better, because last year we had to rely on basically two or three people. This year, we’ve got about six or seven people that can actually put the ball in the hole for us.”
Southern’s offense will feature a heavy amount of Green, its offensive catalyst who’s primed to carry and lead Southern’s team on and off the floor.
“Right now, she’s carrying this team,” Pugh said. “She is a difference maker. Anytime you get a kid like that, that you can coach, then that will help bring those kids along, that’s a beautiful thing. I’m really excited about where we are with her.”