The Southern women could have made things easier on themselves with better foul shooting.
The Jaguars barely made 50 percent of their season-high 49 free-throw attempts, but it was more than enough in a 72-58 victory against Alabama State on Monday night in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
Southern, which is second in the Southwestern Athletic Conference with a free-throw shooting percentage of 68, made 28 free throws as the Lady Hornets committed 38 fouls.
“The game would have been over (sooner) if we had made our free throws,” Jaguars coach Sandy Pugh said. “We missed 20-plus free throws. That’s unheard of. That’ll be a point of emphasis when we return to practice Wednesday.”
Southern won its 12th in a row to improve to 13-2 in the SWAC and 15-10 overall. It plays Alcorn State in the home finale Saturday. ASU, 8-6 and 12-12, made 18-of-33 free throws resulting from 26 Jaguars fouls.
“It was a difficult game to call,” Pugh said. “The refs did the best they could. There was so much reaching and grabbing going on. You’ve got to clean that up.”
Southern didn’t shoot particularly well from the floor either, making 36 percent of its field goals and missing all nine of its 3-pointers.
Leading scorer Kendra Coleman made just 2-of-16 shots for nine points, playing the second half with a sprained non-shooting hand. Britney Washington picked up the slack by scoring 21 points — 19 in the second half.
“I looked up in the stands and saw my family there (early in the second half),” Washington said. “I thought about playing AAU and my dad would hold his fist up, meaning it’s time to get going. So I said a little prayer and went to work.”
Jasmine Jefferson was the only other Jaguars player to score in double figures, finishing with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Britney Wright led ASU with 27 points, making 11-of-19 shots, including all five of her 3-pointers. Her teammates shot a combined 5-of-25 (20 percent). Jameka Holmes scored 13.
Southern led by eight points at halftime, but Wright scored eight points in the first 3½ minutes of the second half to get ASU within two.
Washington answered with five straight points, but 3-pointers by Ashanti Spencer and Wright helped the Hornets pull even at 45 midway through the half.
Then Washington took charge again, scoring eight points and assisting on Jadea Brundidge’s layup during a 14-0 run that put the Jaguars in command with less than six minutes remaining.
“There’s something inside of Britney that, when she starts hitting, no one can stop her,” Jefferson said.
ASU didn’t make a field goal until the game was nearly seven minutes old and Southern grabbed a 14-5 lead.
Wright made two 3-pointers and Holmes made one as the Lady Hornets took their first lead at 19-18. They stretched the lead to 24-20 but didn’t make a field goal in the final six minutes of the half.
The Jaguars got into the double bonus with 11 minutes left in the half but didn’t take full advantage because of poor foul shooting. They went nearly seven minutes without a field goal, mainly because ASU kept putting them on the line. During that stretch, Southern made 8-of-16 free throws.
Coleman made a 15-foot jumper for her first field goal after nine misses. Ashley Williams followed with a steal and a layup, and Jefferson made two layups to complete a 14-0 run.
Holmes’ two free throws ended a five-minute scoring drought for the Lady Hornets and left the Jaguars with a 34-26 halftime lead.