Kendra Coleman’s return sparks Jaguars _lowres

Advocate file photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Southern coach Sandy Pugh hopes to lead the Jaguars to being the first SWAC team to win a postseason game when they visit Arkansas State on Thursday night in Jonesboro, Ark.

The Southern women’s basketball team got back on the winning track when it defeated Tougaloo College 81-48 on Monday.

But the Jaguars are still trying to get their shooting untracked.

They rank last in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in field-goal percentage (31.9) and free-throw percentage (54.8) and they’re tied with Arkansas-Pine Bluff for last in 3-point shooting (21.6). Even in the win against Tougaloo, which ended a four-game losing streak, their shooting was only marginally improved — 35 percent from the field, 52 percent on free throws and 28 percent on 3-pointers.

“Our shooting percentage is horrendous right now,” coach Sandy Pugh said. “We’re rushing our shots. We’ve got to get into a better rhythm.”

Southern (3-5) will try to do so when it plays Tulane (6-2) at 5 p.m. Friday in Devlin Fieldhouse.

“If we shoot 30 percent against Tulane,” Pugh said, “we’ll get run out of the gym.”

The Jaguars shooting and offense in general figure to pick as senior guard Britney Washington, the leading returning scorer from last season and the team’s best outside shooter, returns to form.

Washington returned to the lineup two games ago after missing the first six games while awaiting academic certification.

She has averaged 19.5 points in her first two games, shooting 36.5 percent from the field, 57 percent on free throws and 29 percent on 3-pointers. She made 3-of-7 shots in the second half after making 3-of-11 in the first half against Tougaloo.

“I started to get into a rhythm in the second half,” Washington said.

Pugh said the Jaguars defensive communication and rotation need to get better as well.

“We’re a work in progress,” she said. “We have all the parts. We need to start putting them together.”

This is Southern’s last game before Christmas break. The Jaguars don’t play again until they visit Texas Southern in the Southwestern Athletic Conference opener Jan. 2.

“It’s really important that we play well,” Washington said, “so we can come back from the break feeling confident.”