The Southern women’s basketball team expects a physical game when it plays Alabama State at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
These teams met four weeks ago in Montgomery, Alabama, and the Jaguars had a double-digit lead for most of the first 34 minutes before seeing their lead to shrink to one. They held on for a 53-49 victory.
“We had a nice lead over there against them, and I thought we allowed their rough-housing to intimidate us a little bit,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said. “That’s a point of emphasis. We won’t be intimidated by anybody. We’ve got to be aggressive offensively and defensively.
“They’re a young team, but they’re real scrappy. They’re a very physical team. They do a lot of full-court pressure. They hustle, and they’re going to come at you for 40 minutes. We’ve got do better job taking care of basketball than did over there.”
The Jaguars committed seven of their 21 turnovers and made just one field goal during the final nine minutes of the first meeting.
“We had a lot of turnovers against their press, so we’ve really got to focus on their press,” guard Kendra Coleman said. “Knowing the turnovers we committed against their press up there, we know they’re going to try to do same thing.”
Britney Washington made two free throws with 25 seconds left, and Jasmine Jefferson made two late defensive stops to preserve the victory.
Southern, which has won 11 straight games, is 12-2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and 14-10 overall. The Lady Hornets are 8-5 and 12-11 after a 77-72 overtime loss at Alcorn State on Saturday.
“We need to keep our edge and stay focused,” Jefferson said. “Alabama State is going to come in here with the same mentality and play hard. It’s up to us. It’s up to us to just play basketball, play together and get a ‘W.’”
Southern is coming off one of its most productive offensive games of the season in an 84-53 victory against Alabama A&M on Saturday. It was the Jaguars’ largest margin of victory in a conference game this season and their largest point total against an NCAA opponent this season.
Coleman was asked if Southern is hitting on all cylinders offensively.
“If we’re not, we’re definitely getting there,” she said. “We’ve got to focus more on our defense, but we’re getting there too.”
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.