The Southern women’s basketball team enters its Southwestern Athletic Conference home opener against Grambling on Saturday on a positive note.
Tipoff is 3 p.m. in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. The game will air on CST and WXOK-AM, 1460.
The Jaguars (4-7) struggled through their nonconference schedule but evened their SWAC record at 1-1 when they won 65-55 at Prairie View on Monday.
“The second half against Prairie View was the first time in a long time that we shot the ball well,” coach Sandy Pugh said. “We stopped jacking up 3s, and we got the ball inside.”
The Jaguars shot 34 percent and missed 9-of-10 3-pointers in the first half but shot 50 percent and made 2-of-5 3-pointers in the second half. It was an encouraging sign for a team that ranks last in the SWAC in field-goal percentage (33.2) and 3-point percentage (21.0).
Pugh tweaked her starting lineup by inserting two seniors — post Kenidi Robinson and guard Ashley Williams.
“We decided to go with the veterans,” Pugh said. “They’re not going to score a lot of points, but they bring incredible intensity to everything they do.”
Southern forced 26 turnovers, 10 more than it committed, and pulled away late by outscoring the Panthers 17-8 in the fourth quarter.
The Jaguars got a boost from another senior in reserve post Jadea Brundidge, who missed the 59-45 loss at Texas Southern in the SWAC opener Jan. 2 after the death of her grandmother.
Brundidge arrived just in time for the team’s shootaround and went on to have seven points and two rebounds in 8 minutes.
Southern’s bench outscored Prairie View’s bench 28-0. Ten Jaguars are averaging more than 10 minutes per game, and three others are averaging at least 8 minutes.
“Our bench play has been a big plus for us,” Pugh said.
Grambling (5-8, 2-0) is seeking its first 3-0 start in SWAC play in six years.
“You used to be able to count on that W,” Pugh said, “but not anymore.”
Grambling opened the season with wins against Alabama A&M (75-56) and Alabama State (89-69). Jazmine Boyd was named SWAC Player of the Week after averaging 21.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in the two wins. She made 14-of-18 field goals, 3-of-5 3-pointers and all 12 of her free throws.
The Tigers are averaging a SWAC-best 82.0 points in league play and the Jaguars are ninth (55.0). The Jaguars, though, are second in scoring defense (57.0), and the Tigers are sixth (62.5).