One of the goals for the Southern women’s basketball this season was to apply more defensive pressure to create more turnovers and fast-break points.
The Jaguars did just that in their 69-42 victory against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
Southern forced 24 turnovers, scored 30 points off of them, and had 14 fast-break points against the Lady Golden Lions, who started three freshman guards.
“That was a point of emphasis the last couple of days going in to play such a young team,” Jaguars coach Sandy Pugh said. “I definitely wanted to pressure up and not let them get into a rhythm in their half-court sets.
“We wanted to pressure them up, and hopefully they would make some turnovers and mistakes, and we would get some easies. And it worked out for us.”
Southern, 5-10 and 3-2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, hosts Mississippi Valley State on Monday. UAPB is 3-11 and 2-3.
Kendra Coleman led the Jaguars with 15 points, Jasmine Jefferson had 13 points, nine rebounds and four steals, and Britney Washington had 10 points. Briana Green and Bonnie Scott each had three of the team’s 15 steals. Southern had a 46-25 edge in rebounding.
The Lady Golden Lions played 13 players, and 10 of them scored, but no one reached double figures. Jazmyne Victorian led the way with nine points.
The Jaguars pressure defense enabled them to quickly extend their eight-point halftime lead at the start of the second half.
On the first possession, Washington made a steal and passed to Coleman for an uncontested layup.
“We knew that would be the critical point of the game,” Pugh said. “We changed up our defense and got more aggressive. We jump trapped them, and they turned it over. And we were able to get out in transition, and that energy picked up.”
Moments later, Jefferson made a steal and fed Coleman for another uncontested layup that helped trigger a 12-0 run, giving Southern a 44-23 lead.
Even when UAPB wasn’t turning the ball over, it was having difficulty finishing possessions as it didn’t make a field goal and scored just one point in nearly four minutes to start the second half.
“Coach wanted us to come out with more intensity than we had in the first half, and put our foot on their necks early,” Washington said. “She said the first five minutes were going to determine who was ready to win this game, and that’s exactly what happened.”
The Jaguars, who committed just three fouls in the first half, went into the penalty just 6½ minutes into the second half, but the Lady Golden Lions didn’t take advantage.
They made 7-of-23 free throws, including 5-of-19 in the second half.
The lead grew to 21 before UAPB cut it to 16. Two baskets by Coleman and a free throw by Scott pushed the lead back to 20 midway through the half.
Southern spread the scoring around early as six players had baskets in building a 17-12 lead.
Three points and an assist from Victorian helped UAPB get even at 21, but the Lady Golden Lions’ last field goal came with 3:30 left in the half.
Coleman hit an 18-footer before Carlisha Walker produced UAPB’s final point of the half on a free throw. Washington had two field goals and Jefferson a field goal and a free throw as the Jaguars took their biggest lead of the half at halftime, 30-22.
The Lady Golden Lions turned the ball over 14 times in the first half, leading to 17 Southern points.
“We picked them up full-court to not let them run their offense in the half-court,” Coleman said. “We really picked up the intensity and put pressure on them and got in the passing less and created turnovers. We played good defense tonight.”
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