The Southern women’s revamped roster was on full display right from the start of the season opener Friday night.
All 14 players who dressed, including nine newcomers, played in the first quarter, and 10 players would up playing at least 11 minutes.
It took a while for the group to develop some cohesion, but gradually the Jaguars found a rhythm and defeated Spring Hill College 65-46 in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
“Horrible, horrible,” coach Sandy Pugh said. ‘It was poor execution from top to bottom. We had too many bonehead plays. We probably were at 15 percent efficiency.”
Southern, which hosts South Alabama on Nov. 20, led 25-12 after a first half in which both teams shot poorly.
“You always look at the first half and figure there are some jitters because it’s the first rodeo,” Pugh said. “The second half they calmed down and did some good things. Brianna kind of led the charge.”
Briana Green and newcomers Skyler O’Bear and Miaya Crowder led the Jaguars with 12 points each.
“Coach Pugh told us at halftime that he had to pick up the energy,” Green said. “I got us together in the huddle and said it was up to the starting five, and we did better in the second half.”
The scoring pace for both teams picked up in the third quarter, and consecutive 3-pointers by Armanee Broussard and Jennifer Clark pulled Spring Hill within 37-26.
But the Jaguars finished the quarter with a rush. Rishonti Cowart and Crowder made consecutive layups, O’Bear made the team’s only 3-pointer in 11 attempts, and Green beat the buzzer with a layup. That sent Southern into the fourth quarter with a 46-26 cushion.
“I started off a little nervous, and my coaches kept talking to me and telling me to relax,” said O’Bear, a freshman from White Castle. “I feel like now that I’ve gotten the first one out of the way, I won’t be so nervous next time.”
Southern shot 42 percent from the floor, made just 6-of-16 free throws and committed 22 turnovers.
None of the 13 Badgers who played scored in double figures. Spring Hill shot 30.2 percent from the floor, made 3-of-10 3-pointers and 11-of-25 free throws and committed 30 turnovers.
Both teams were sloppy in the early going, committing seven first-quarter turnovers apiece.
Spring Hill made just 2-of-14 shots and Southern made 5-of-15 to take a 10-8 lead into the second quarter.
O’Bear scored five points and Danayea Charles had four during the second quarter as the Jaguars increased the lead to 25-12 at halftime.