GREENWOOD, Miss. — Coach Sandy Pugh said she was excited when she heard Monday morning that her Southern women’s basketball team’s game against Mississippi Valley State was being moved to 2 p.m. from 5:30 p.m.
The Jaguars had been on the road since last Friday and sitting around the hotel while a strong winter storm approached wasn’t doing anyone any good.
“I can’t tell you how mundane it was at the hotel, just sitting around and waiting,” Pugh said.
Pugh got word about 9 a.m. that tip-off would be moved as long as an officiating crew could be rounded up. When she arrived at the Leflore County Civic Center at 9:45 a.m. for shoot-around the jantor told her the move was a done deal made to minimize the effects of impending freezing precipitation.
“We had a great shoot-around,” guard Kendra Coleman said. “We were ready to go.”
The early start triggered a fast start for Southern, though it hit a lull in the middle of the game before finishing strong for a 59-50 victory.
The Jaguars won their 10th game in a row to improve to 11-2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and 13-10 overall. They play the first of three consecutive home games when Alabama A&M visits the F.G. Clark Activity Center on Saturday. The Delta Devilettes are 1-12 and 3-21.
Southern led by as many as 13 points in each half, but Valley pulled within five when Christian Reed made two free throws with 3:01 left and half a minute later Southern forward Jasmine Jefferson fouled out.
“Defensively we weren’t very good,” Pugh said. “We stood around a lot and let them take us off the dribble. We never really got into a good rhythm.”
Britney Washington, who had made 1-of-11 shots, swished a 17-footer for a seven-point Jaguars lead with 2:05 left.
“Britney really struggled but that last one was a dagger,” Pugh said. “We really needed that.”
The Delta Devilettes didn’t make another field goal and two free throws by Coleman and one by Briana Green extended the margin.
“I missed some shots,” Washington said. “I’m going to have some good games and I’m going to have some bad games. I just had to keep playing and stop thinking about the last shot and start thinking about the next one. Finally I hit one.”
Coleman led Southern with 17 points, making 7-of-10 shots and 1-of-4 3-pointers. It was a significant improvement over her last game.
when she missed all six of her 3-pointers and made just 4-of-14 field goals in a 72-47 win at Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday.
“I was shooting too many threes,” Coleman said. “I just wanted to come out this game and attack. This was my best shooting game in a while.”
Jefferson finished with 11 points, though she was limited to 21 minutes because of foul trouble. Cortnei Purnell had eight rebounds and Coleman had six.
Ashley Beals led Valley with 14 points, making all three of her field-goal attempts and hitting 8-of-12 free throws. Reed had 12 points, but made just 2-of-11 shots.
Coleman, Jefferson and Green each had four points as the Jaguars, who never trailed in the game, had a 16-9 lead after nine minutes.
The lead grew to 31-18 before the Delta Devilettes made a late push to get within 33-25 at halftime.
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.