GRAMBLING — Southern women’s basketball coach Sandy Pugh stood outside the Fredrick C. Hobdy Athletic Center trying to put her team’s performance into words.
The Jaguars had just stumbled through a 65-52 loss to Grambling on Saturday afternoon.
“We’re only as good as they want to be,” Pugh said. “They didn’t show that they wanted to be very good tonight. From top to bottom, it was ugly.”
Southern turned the ball over 26 times, allowed 10 offensive rebounds in the second half as it got outscored 16-7 on second-chance points, and its bench got outscored 28-8. When the Jaguars beat the Lady Tigers 80-68 four weeks ago, their bench had advantages of 40-25 in scoring and 23-7 in rebounding against their counterparts.
But this game was nothing like the first meeting.
“We didn’t have any intensity defensively and we didn’t make shots,” said guard Britney Washington, the Jaguars’ season-leading scorer who had just eight points on 4-of-15 shooting, including 0-for-4 on 3-pointers.
Briana Green led Southern with 15 points and Ashley Williams scored 10, but no one could establish an offensive rhythm.
“We average about 80 points (72 in SWAC play), and we scored 52,” is how guard Cortnei Purnell summed it up.
The Jaguars, 7-3 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and 10-9 overall, visit Jackson State on Monday. The Lady Tigers are 7-3 and 10-11.
Southern reserve center Jadea Brundidge was not with the team as she served a one-game suspension for committing a flagrant foul a week earlier in an altercation with Alcorn State’s Henrietta Wells, who also was ejected and served a one-game suspension. Pugh said Brundidge will be available Monday.
Grambling’s leading scorer, Jazmine Boyd, who was scoreless in the first meeting, had a game-high 17 points. Shakyla Hill scored 14, and John’ea Thompson had 13 off the bench.
Southern fell behind by as many as 13 points in the first half but cut the deficit to four at the half despite committing 17 turnovers.
“We couldn’t get any offensive rhythm because of the turnovers,” Purnell said.
Grambling started rebuilding its lead as soon as the second half started. Hill scored six points as the Lady Tigers began with a 10-4 run.
“We should have built on that momentum (from the end of the first half),” Purnell said. “But we came out with the same attitude.”
Miaya Crowder tried to bring the Jaguars back, making three baskets and assisting on another, but the Lady Tigers took a 48-40 lead into the fourth quarter.
Boyd made a 3-pointer to start the fourth-quarter scoring, and all Southern managed in the first seven minutes were three baskets by Green. The margin never dropped below nine.
“We were too lackadaisical,” Purnell said. “We didn’t rebound like we’re supposed to do, and we committed some crazy fouls.”
Southern committed twice as many fouls as Grambling (24-12), which gave the Lady Tigers a big edge at the free-throw line. They made 17-of-25 free throws, and the Jaguars made 3-of-8.
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.