The last time the Southern and Mississippi Valley State women met, the Jaguars forced 41 turnovers and rolled to a 99-36 victory.
That was four weeks ago, and Southern isn’t expecting it to be as easy when the teams meet again at 5 p.m. Monday in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
“Everybody comes in here excited to play,” Jaguars coach Sandy Pugh said. “People love to come to Baton Rouge. People love to play at F.G. Clark. It’s a great place to play. They show up with that intensity and fire.”
Southern is 9-3 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and 12-9 overall. The Lady Delta Devils are 1-11 and 3-19.
The Jaguars are in third place in the SWAC, one game behind Alabama State and 1½ games behind Texas Southern.
“We go into it like it’s another game. There’s nothing different,” forward Briana Green said. “We don’t go into any game taking anybody for granted. We go into every game like we’re playing Texas Southern or Alabama State. Mississippi Valley is going to come in here and try to beat us, and we can’t underestimate anybody.”
Valley, which dressed just seven players for the first meeting because of injuries and transfers, has lost 11 consecutive games. But it has been more competitive since coach Elvis Robinson was fired and replaced by interim coach Melvin Williams earlier this month.
In three games under Williams, the Lady Delta Devils have lost by an average margin of 17 points after losing by an average of 35 points during the first eight games in the streak.
“That team is not the same team that we played over there,” Pugh said. “They’re greatly improved. They’re shooting the basketball very well, and they’re playing with a lot of confidence.”
Pugh said she’d like to see her team play with more consistency.
“I’m just disappointed in our overall effort at this juncture in the year,” she said. “We need to be playing with more conviction, playing with more toughness, and that’s not consistently happening. The fluctuations are what we continue to see.”
Southern had a 10-point lead midway through the fourth quarter Saturday before Arkansas-Pine Bluff got within two in the final half minute after a turnover by Skylar O’Bear against the Lady Golden Lions’ press.
“We need to do a better job of handling pressure when we’re getting pressed,” said guard Britney Washington, who scored the Jaguars’ final nine points, including two clinching free throws with six seconds left.
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.