PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas — Southern senior Jadea Brundidge missed Saturday’s game against Texas Southern to attend her grandmother’s funeral.
The senior post player returned Monday to help provide the spark and emotion the Jaguars needed to get their first Southwestern Athletic Conference victory.
Brundidge scored seven points in the game’s final six minutes to lead the Jaguars on a 14-4 run to break a fourth-quarter tie and beat Prairie View 65-55 at the William Nicks Building.
“My team really supported me through what I was going through, so I had to make sure I came back and played hard,” Brundidge said. “They were there for me, so I had to be there for them.”
In addition to having Brundidge back, Southern coach Sandy Pugh found another senior leader after shaking up the starting lineup.
Ashley Williams made her first start of the season and scored 10 points, grabbed six rebounds and took several charges on defense.
Williams, started alongside fellow senior Kenidi Robinson, one game after Southern fell behind by 21 points in the first half against Texas Southern.
“I just felt like we were dragging and the intensity wasn’t there Saturday,” Pugh said. “Kenidi and Ashley bring that energy and I think we got off to a good start.
“I was also trying to send a message to Briana (Green). She needs to step her game up. We need to depend on her and I think she came in the game and did some good stuff and I was proud of her.”
Green led the Jaguars (4-7, 1-1) with 13 points off the bench, joining Britney Washington (10), Cortnei Purnell (10) and Williams (10) in double figures.
“I thought we played a ‘we’ game tonight,” Pugh said. “We moved the basketball. The style of game we play, we share the basketball and you really need four or five kids in double digits.”
Williams also helped force 26 turnovers, while guarding PV star guard Lamaria Cole, who led the Panthers (5-6, 1-1) with 26 points.
“I love disrupting the point guard and if they can’t get going, they can’t start the offense,” Williams said.
“We had to make a change in our defense. We got off to such a slow start last game. Our intensity on defense was much better and we forced a lot of turnovers.”
While the defense set the tone, it was the offense by Williams and Brundidge in the final six minutes that made the difference.
“Jadea was phenomenal tonight,” Washington said. “She came back and got to work in the post.”
With the score tied at 51, Williams hit a 3-pointer to give SU its first fourth-quarter lead.
A free-throw and layup by Brundidge put SU up 57-51, while two more Brundidge layups minutes later put the Jaguars up 65-55.
“Not having Jadea Saturday really hurt us,” Pugh said. “She is long, she finishes well and she is a veteran. She was the difference-maker, without her, the game would have gone the other way tonight.”
As Brundidge jogged off the court and headed to the locker room, the smile on her face said it all.
“I played really hard for my grandma,” Brundidge said. “She told me she wanted me to give it all I got and finish with a bang because basketball is something that always got me through.”