The Southern women’s basketball team finishes a long, difficult journey when it plays at Arizona at 7 p.m. Thursday.
It will be the last of six consecutive road games, mostly against teams from power conferences, before the Jaguars come home to face Florida A&M next Wednesday.
Southern (1-5) has lost five straight. After a 79-76 loss at Southeastern Louisiana, the next four losses came by an average of more than 30 points against Ole Miss, Illinois, Minnesota and Texas.
Sandy Pugh said No. 3-ranked Texas, which beat the Jaguars 80-42 on Monday, is one of the five best teams she has faced in her 15 seasons as Southern’s coach.
Despite the losing streak, Pugh said she liked the team’s attitude at practice Wednesday.
“Kids are very resilient,” she said. “Mentally, we’re in a good place. I think they recognize that we have yet to play up to the level that we’re capable of playing.”
Pugh said a lot of Southern’s problems have been self-inflicted, caused by a lack of focus that has created mental mistakes.
Additionally, she said the Jaguars need to find other scorers to complement Britney Washington, Kendra Coleman and Jasmine Jefferson, the top three scorers who teams are focused on containing.
“We’ve got to put the ball in the hole,” she said. “Some of our players are pretty hesitant to take shots.”
Washington is averaging 19.0 points, Coleman 13.2 and Jefferson 8.2. Pugh did not play Washington against Texas because she wasn’t satisfied with Washington’s focus. Pugh said Washington would play against Arizona but might not start.
Pugh said the Jaguars also have to do a better job of rebounding. They have generally been undersized against their opponents and have been outrebounded in every game in the losing streak and by an average of 15 per game.
“We still have to gang rebound,” Pugh said. “We have to be moving and get in position before the ball reaches the rim.”
The Wildcats are 4-3 after a 72-69 victory at Wake Forest on Sunday.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.