The Southern women played perhaps their worst first half of the season when they fell behind Alcorn State 30-13 at halftime two weeks ago.
Then the Jaguars began the second half with a pressing defense and quickly came to life. In 10½ minutes they were within a point and when the game was over they had a 59-51 victory.
At the beginning of the two games since then, Southern has nearly duplicated that second-half start. It took a 25-11 lead in less than 12 minutes and coasted to an 80-52 victory against Grambling and it took a 25-5 lead in less than eight minutes and coasted to an 82-60 victory against Jackson State.
The fast-starting Jaguars (9-2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and 11-10 overall) will try to win their ninth game in a row when they visit Arkansas-Pine Bluff (3-8, 5-17) at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“We came out really aggressive the second half against Alcorn and we tried the same thing against Grambling and Jackson State with the full-court pressure,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said. “It has seemed to get us going, get our juices flowing. We want to continue that process.”
The victory at Alcorn State was one of just two during the win streak that came by fewer than 10 points and the average margin of victory in the streak is 18-plus points. But the home-stand sweep of Grambling and Jackson State featured the most-lopsided games in the streak, given that in both game the Jaguars essentially took the opponent out of the game midway through the first half.
“We’re going on the road now,” forward Jasmine Jefferson said. “With two big double-digit wins we’re confident going to Pine Bluff.”
The win streak has enabled Southern to take over second place in the SWAC by two games over Alabama State, but it has not been able to catch Texas Southern, which is 9-1 and beat the Jaguars 62-48 on Jan. 5.
Southern beat the Lady Golden Lions 69-42 on Jan. 17 in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. In that game UAPB succumbed to the kind of defensive pressure that the Jaguars have thrived on the last 2½ games.
The Lady Golden Lions started three freshmen guards and Southern managed to force 24 turnovers and scored 30 points off of them, including 14 fast-break points. The Jaguars had 15 steals, including four by Jefferson and three each by Briana Green and Bunny Scott.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.