Southern’s women’s basketball team hasn’t won anything yet.
The Jaguars’ seven-game winning streak through the heart of the Southwestern Athletic Conference on Jan. 6-27 was an achievement by itself. It’s when they separated themselves from mediocrity and climbed to the top of the SWAC, a high-podium view they’ve controlled for weeks with a SWAC-best 12-3 record.
Southern coach Sandy Pugh did not mince words about Southern’s lack of effort and on-floor leadership leading into the Jaguars’ 58-56 loss at Alabama State on Saturday.
One week later with three games remaining on the schedule and a regular season title within realistic reach, there’s no more time to frolic.
First-place Southern’s final push at a championship continues at 3 p.m. Saturday at Alcorn State in Lorman, Mississippi.
“Like I told the kids, we have not peaked,” Pugh said. “We haven’t shown what we’re capable of doing. If we get out and play with that level of intensity, I think it’ll be our game the rest of the way.”
Butler (knee) out vs. Alcorn
Freshman reserve point guard Tiamya Butler will not play against Alcorn State, forcing her to miss a second consecutive game with a knee injury, Pugh said.
Butler suffered the injury in Southern’s loss to Alabama State and underwent X-rays on Tuesday, Pugh said last week. By early Friday afternoon, Southern had not received Butler’s X-ray results, but the more thorough understanding of the severity of Butler’s injury is expected Friday night or Saturday morning.
“She’s still out,” Pugh said. “They aren’t sure what’s going on."
The Jaguars will host Texas Southern on Thursday and Prairie View A&M on Saturday, their final regular season game before the conference tournament begins March 6.
“I’m not expecting her to come back,” Pugh said. “I’m hopeful that she’ll be able to play next week. If not, then we’re going to continue to go on with what we have. But she will definitely be a plus to have her back.”
Men at Alcorn
Second-place Southern will face Alcorn State at 5:30 p.m. and will tipoff shortly after the women's game concludes.
The Jaguars (14-14, 10-5 SWAC) have jumped to second place in the league via their current five-game winning streak. Alcorn State (10-18, 6-9) is in eighth place, but carries the SWAC’s second-best home record at 8-3 behind Southern’s 10 wins in Baton Rouge.
“We have got to go in and be ready to play some great basketball because Alcorn is great at home,” coach Morris Scott said.
Barring a last-minute injury Friday or Saturday morning, Scott said Southern’s full roster is healthy and available at Alcorn State.