The Southern women lost four players during a scuffle early in the second half, but still had enough firepower to rout Alabama A&M 84-53 on Saturday afternoon in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
Starting forward Briana Green went to the bench for more than 10 minutes after committing a personal foul and a technical foul during the incident, which left her one foul short of disqualification and brought three of her teammates off the bench, causing their ejection.
“I just told them in the huddle, ‘Let’s get back focused,’ ” guard Kendra Coleman said. “ ‘Don’t worry about it, it’s over. We’ve got to get on it right now.’ ”
The Jaguars led by 11 points when things got heated and they pulled away to their largest margin of victory in a Southwestern Athletic Conference game this season by scoring their most points against an NCAA opponent this season.
Southern won its 11th game in a row to improve to 12-2 in the SWAC and 14-10 overall as it prepares to host Alabama State on Monday. The Lady Bulldogs are 5-8 and 6-18.
The second half was barely two minutes old when Green and Alganese Gatson dove to the floor competing for a loose ball. The pair got tangled and had to be separated as they went after one another as they got up.
Jadea Brundidge, Shaquandria Litmon and Keonia Parrish rushed to the scene from the Southern bench, which is an automatic cause for ejection.
The officials huddled for a few minutes before imposing the injections, calling a personal foul on Green and a double technical on Green and Gatson.
“A couple of kids made a poor decision,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said. “They know better than that. It was a reactionary thing, but that can’t ever happen.”
A&M’s Brittney Strickland made two foul shots, but the Jaguars forced a shot-clock violation, then scored eight points for a 17-point lead.
“We should have played like that at the beginning of the half, but I guess (the ejections) gave us a little bit more motivation,” Southern forward Jasmine Jefferson said. “We just wanted to finish the game off and coach said we just had to suck it up and play with the guys we have.”
Five points from Strickland helped A&M get within 10, but Coleman’s 3-pointer started a 10-0 run that gave Southern a 20-point lead midway through the half.
Green returned with 7:26 left and on the Jaguars’ next three possessions she grabbed an offensive rebound and made two foul shots, hit a 15-foot jumper and assisted on Cortnei Purnell’s jumper.
“When she went back in I told her it was over and done with,” Coleman said. “Just get focused because we need buckets from you. She said, ‘OK.’ ”
Green, who was not available for comment after the game, finished with 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds in 18 minutes. Britney Washington scored 17 points off the bench, Coleman had 16 points and five assists and Jefferson had 15 points and eight rebounds.
Strickland led the Lady Bulldogs with 16 points and seven rebounds. Jaylan Snowden scored 12 points.
Strickland made one 3-pointer and Snowden made two as the Lady Bulldogs took an 11-10 lead, but Green made a layup and scored twice on put-backs in the span of a minute and a half as the Jaguars increased the lead to 27-15.
A&M chipped away at the foul line, making 11-of-17 free throws while Southern made 1-of-2.
Coleman’s jumper from the corner with 13 seconds left gave the Jaguars a 42-33 halftime lead.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.