The Southern University women’s basketball team, having completed a hectic four-game stretch to open Southwestern Athletic Conference play, enjoyed three days to itself late this week.
Not surprisingly, the Jaguars spent much of that time working on their defense.
Even after watching her team rebound with a 72-59 win at Jackson State, coach Sandy Pugh was still having flashbacks to what she saw two nights earlier, when Grambling ran up 92 points against Southern in a lopsided upset.
“Grambling exposed just how bad a defensive effort we have been giving,” Pugh said.
Pugh hopes a “refocused” Southern defense continues to make strides Saturday as the Jaguars (4-11, 3-1) step back into SWAC play against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Tip-off at the F.G. Clark Activity Center is set for 2 p.m.
UAPB (5-8, 1-2) has gotten off to a slow start, but the Golden Lions lead the SWAC in scoring offense at 60.8 points per game.
Freshman guard Cassidy Wright (11.3 points per game), senior forward Chigozianyi Okwumbua (11.2 ppg) and senior guard Lakendra Marsh (11.1) give Pine Bluff three players averaging in double figures.
But Pugh said the Jaguars’ focus — as always — will be on themselves.
Not on whom they have to stop.
“We’ve got the biggest team in the league and probably the most athletic,” Pugh said. “We’ve got to do a better job of using that to cause some problems for people.”
Kendra Coleman has provided Southern a go-to scorer during SWAC play (with an average of 15.8 points) and Adrian Sanders, averaging 10.3 points for the season, a reliable No. 2 option.
In the win at Jackson State on Tuesday night, senior Lechell Rush had 19 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Defensively, though, Pugh said the Jaguars have work to do.
The Jaguars coach would especially like to see Southern’s guards do a better job of keeping opponents from penetrating the lane.
“Some of our kids are just kind of coasting,” Pugh said. “They’d rather pace themselves for seven minutes and stay in the game than go hard, all out, for three minutes.”
After playing four games in seven days to open league play, Southern begins a two-game homestand that includes Monday’s visit by Mississippi Valley State.
The Jaguars trail first-place Alabama A&M by one game in the SWAC standings.