JACKSON, Miss. — The Southern women’s basketball team was in agreement about the biggest problem it faced after Saturday’s 65-52 loss at Grambling.
“We didn’t come out with the fire we needed to win the game,” guard Britney Washington said.
“We played too relaxed and didn’t pick up the intensity when we needed to,” guard Cortnei Purnell said.
“The way we played defense, everybody should have bought a ticket because we stood and watched,” coach Sandy Pugh said. “We were two seconds late. The focus, intensity and energy were not there. We were lethargic.”
So Sunday was spent reviewing tape of the loss and focusing on bringing more intensity when the Jaguars (10-9, 7-3 Southwestern Athletic Conference) visit Jackson State (11-10, 5-5) at 5:30 p.m. Monday.
Southern dug itself an early 13-point hole against Grambling on its way to committing 17 first-half turnovers. It never climbed out of that hole.
“I think we underestimated them a little bit,” Washington said.
The Jaguars committed twice as many turnovers as the Lady Tigers, who had a 14-point edge at the free-throw line.
“We’ve got to learn to move our feet and get in front of them so we stop sending them to the foul line,” Washington said.
Pugh said Southern was “completely out of sync.”
“I think the biggest challenge facing us is intensity and leadership,” she said. “We didn’t have either of those. The bottom line is our leadership wasn’t there.”
The Jaguars have nine first-year players and four seniors.
“Somebody has to step up and be able to get the intensity up on the floor,” Purnell said. “We can talk all day and say, ‘Guys, let’s go. Let’s get it,’ but until somebody steps up and actually takes leadership and shows some intensity on the floor, it’s hard to get the intensity up and keep the momentum going.”
JSU won its first three SWAC games before Southern beat it 84-57 on Jan. 11, starting a stretch of five losses in seven games for the Lady Tigers. In that game, the Jaguars set a season high for first-half points (47), just five fewer than it scored all day Saturday.
Reserve post Jadea Brundidge is expected to play after serving a one-game suspension Saturday for receiving a flagrant foul in an altercation with Alcorn State’s Henrietta Wells a week earlier.