PINE BLUFF, Ark. — The Southern women narrowly missed extending their streak of 80-point games to three, but they had enough offense to extend their winning streak to four.
Britney Washington scored a game-high 21 points and Cortnei Purnell added 17 as the Jaguars held off Arkansas-Pine Bluff 78-61 Saturday night in the H.O. Clemmons Arena. No other Jaguars scored in double figures.
“Cortnei was on fire (8-of-11 shooting), but for a while we couldn’t seem to find her,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said. “Britney likes the pressure. She’s like taking big shots.”
Southern, which beat Jackson State 84-57 last Monday and Grambling 80-68 two days before that, is 4-1 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and 7-7 overall going into its game at Mississippi Valley State on Monday. The Golden Lions are 0-4 and 3-12.
The Jaguars had a 10-point lead at halftime, but UAPB started the third quarter with a press that disrupted Southern offensively.
The Golden Lions held Southern to two field goals in the first six minutes and made four straight free throws, then four straight layups to get within 39-35.
The Jaguars came out of a timeout and Washington and Purnell went to work. Washington immediately scored on a drive and Purnell made consecutive jumpers to push the lead back to 10.
“They slowed us down a little bit,” Washington said. “But we had worked on (the press) in practice, and after we broke it a couple of times, we got back in the flow.”
After consecutive baskets by UAPB, Washington and Purnell made consecutive jumpers and the Jaguars finished the quarter with a 54-44 lead.
Washington started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and Ashley Williams followed by making two free throws and the Jaguars were in command.
“We talked about asserting ourselves to start the fourth quarter,” Pugh said, “and I was happy to see the way they responded.”
Niya Head led the Golden Lions with 13 points and Aja Richardson scored 11.
UAPB had a 12-8 lead before Southern got its offense going in the final two minutes of the first quarter.
“We missed a lot of easy shots at the start,” said Purnell, who added a game-high 10 rebounds. “We knew we couldn’t let the easy ones go. Then we made a couple of easy ones and that got us going.”
Back-to-back layups by Jadea Brundidge concluded an 8-0 run and after Tyjha McGee made a jumper, Washington’s buzzer-beating jumper gave the Jaguars an 18-14 lead at the end of the quarter.
They carried the momentum into the second quarter as Purnell made two jumpers during an 8-3 run to start the quarter.
The Golden Lions made just one field goal during the final eight minutes of the quarter and Southern took a 33-23 lead into halftime.