It’s one down, one to go for the Southern women’s basketball team.
They began their farthest Southwestern Athletic Conference road trip with a convincing 77-55 victory at Alabama A&M on Saturday. Now, the Jaguars, who have won four straight games by an average margin of 21 points, visit Alabama State on Monday in Montgomery.
“The Alabama trip is always a tough trip,” center Jasmine Jefferson said. “We’re trying to jump back in first place. We’ll need some help, but we’re focused on winning two (on the trip).”
Southern, 7-10 and 5-2 in the SWAC, is a half-game behind first place Texas Southern (5-1), but the Lady Tigers have a leg up on the tie-breaker after beating the Jaguars 62-48 on Jan. 5 in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. The Hornets (8-8 and 4-2) are tied with Prairie View and even with Southern in the loss column.
The Jaguars were balanced against Alabama A&M as four players scored in double figures. Briana Green led the way with 16 points, and Kendra Coleman and Britney Washington scored 14 each. Jefferson had 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds as the team matched its second-highest point total against NCAA competition this season.
“We go how Kendra and Jas go,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said.
Southern gave Pugh the offensive efficiency she has been seeking. The Jaguars shot 53 percent from the field, and even though they were just 2-of-8 on 3-pointers, they continued a recent trend of being more selective in their shots. They have averaged seven 3-point attempts during the winning streak compared to 17 in the 12 games before that.
“I’ve never been a fan of the 3-point shot,” Pugh said. “To me, you live by the 3, you die by the 3. I don’t like looking down at the stat sheet and seeing we’re 3-for-20 or 2-for-15. To me that means we could have taken shots with a higher percentage.”
Pugh said she’d like to see the Jaguars be more focused on getting the ball inside, especially to Jefferson and Green, than on shooting 3-pointers. They’ve done a better job of that during the win streak.
Jefferson is averaging 13.3 points during the win streak compared with her season average of 9.5. Green’s average has gone up from 8.9 to 14.3, and both are averaging three more shots per game during the win streak.
“I feel very confident,” Green said. “Just because I’m a freshman, that doesn’t mean anything. I can come in and provide for my team when they need me.
“We have an inside presence with me and Jas and every post player that comes off the bench.”
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.