The Southern women’s basketball team has had an inconsistent run through the Southwestern Athletic Conference race.
The Jaguars have been playing catch-up after they lost their opener against Texas Southern on Jan. 2. They also had to pursue Alabama State after losing to the Lady Hornets on Jan. 23 in the midst of that team’s 10-game winning streak. But Southern ended that streak with a 57-55 victory against ASU on Saturday in Montgomery, Ala.
Now with four games left in the regular season, beginning with a match-up against Alabama A&M (4-19, 3-10) at 5:30 p.m. Monday T.M. Elmore Gym in Huntsville, Ala., the Jaguars (14-9, 11-3) control their fate. If they win out, they will at worst tie for the regular-season title.
“It all comes with time,” forward Briana Green said. “We’re all on the same page now. We know we have to keep pushing forward if we’re going to cut down the nets.”
Southern’s goal is to be able to at least tie Texas Southern (11-2) when it hosts the rematch March 3. But first come the Lady Bulldogs, followed by a trip to Alcorn State on Saturday.
“We can’t let up,” guard Cortnei Purnell said. “Every game is important if we’re going to get the No. 1 seed (in the SWAC tournament).”
The victory against Alabama State avenged a 60-59 overtime loss to the Lady Hornets. It also resembled the Jaguars conference season as they fell into a hole early in the second half — much as they did with a third conference loss at Grambling two weeks ago — but fought back.
Green’s steal and three-point play gave Southern the lead for good with 1:56 to play and Alabama State didn’t score in the final 3:15.
“It’s all about us,” coach Sandy Pugh said. “It’s all about where we go from here. We need to have the same attitude (as Saturday).”
The Jaguars had little trouble beating A&M 77-38 on Jan. 25, scoring the first eight points of the game, leading by 18 after one quarter and never leading by fewer than 15 points the rest of the way.
Southern held the Lady Bulldogs to 25.6 percent shooting, outrebounded them 44-26 and had significant advantages in points in the paint (38-10), fast-break points (24-2) and points off turnovers (33-12).
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.