The Southern women’s basketball team will play its only exhibition game when it meets Dillard at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

The Jaguars have high expectations as they return four starters from last season and have been picked to repeat as Southwestern Athletic Conference champions.

“I think that this team will be ready to go,” coach Sandy Pugh said. “They’ve shown signs of toughness and competitiveness that I haven’t seen at this time of the year in teams before. So as a coach, I’m real excited about where we are and the potential for this team.”

Southern lost only two significant contributors from last year’s team: starting forward Adrian Sanders and reserve guard Yasmin Fuller. Pugh has praised the improvement of junior guard Britney Washington.

“Britney Washington has really capitalized on the offseason,” Pugh said. “She’s shooting the basketball exceptionally well. I think she has really catapulted her level of play, her ball-handling skills to another level.”

Washington, who Pugh said stood out in an intra-squad scrimmage last week, provided an offensive spark off the bench last season. It remains to be seen if she will reprise that role or move into the starting lineup.

Pugh said she’s looking for a consistent third scorer to complement her top two returning players: guard Kendra Coleman, the leading scorer last season, and post Jasmine Jefferson, a preseason all-SWAC selection.

The coach added that she was impressed by the competitiveness shown in the intra-squad scrimmage, though she would like to see improved post play from what she has seen so far in practice.

“I don’t think we’re doing a very good job of dominating the glass and rebounding and getting out in transition as we should,” Pugh said.

Monday’s game will be the first opportunity to see four newcomers — junior guard Ashley Williams from Walker High School and Baton Rouge Community College; and three freshmen from Florida, guards Briana Green and Micah Garvin and post player Taylor Mack — against another team.

“I think this team is by far faster than we were last year,” Pugh said. “I think we’re more physical than what we were last year, and I would definitely say we have better perimeter scoring than last season.”

Southern, 28-8 and 16-2 in the SWAC last season, opens the season at home against Mobile College on Friday.

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