The Southern women’s basketball team is one victory away from putting itself in the position it has been eyeing for its season-ending home-stand since the start of conference play.
The Jaguars play their final Southwestern Athletic Conference road game when they face Alcorn State at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Davey L. Whitney Complex in Lorman, Miss.
If Southern (11-3 in the SWAC and 14-9 overall) wins, it will be in position to gain at least a share of the conference regular-season title by winning home games against first-place Texas Southern and Prairie View to conclude the regular season next week. The Jaguars have won five in a row.
“That’s what we’re about,” coach Sandy Pugh said Friday. “You can’t be at Southern University women’s basketball and not speak about championships. We talk about it every day.”
The Lady Braves, whom Southern defeated 66-57 four weeks ago in the F.G. Clark Activity Center, are 6-9 and 8-17, but they had won their last four games in a row before a 64-51 loss at Alabama State on Monday and they are 4-3 at home for the season.
Pugh said a point of emphasis for the Jaguars this week has been to start faster than they did in have in the last few games.
“It has really been a grind to get it going,” Pugh said. “I want to see us get out and go fast right from the beginning in this game.”
The Jaguars had to come from behind late in victories at Alabama State (57-55) and Alabama A&M 67-62) last week. They didn;t take the lead for good until 1:56 remained in the game at ASU and 2:34 remained at A&M.
“I like our team,” Pugh said. “We have all the pieces that we need. I told the team they need to see this team through my eyes.”
Pugh said she’d like to see more consistent scoring from the post positions. The Jaguars use five post players — Kenidi Robinson, Miaya Crowder, Jadea Brundidge, Sarai Blissett and Deja Clay — who average a combined 15.1 points per game.
“If we can get 15-25 points from that position we’re going to have a good chance to win,” Pugh said. “We’re the biggest team in the league, but we don’t score the basketball consistently on the low block.”
Alcorn’s Norianna Haynes leads the SWAC in scoring (20.5), rebounding (9.5) and double-doubles (10). She had eight points on 3-of-18 shooting and nine rebounds in the first meeting.
Late in the first meeting, Alcorn’s Henrietta Wells and Southern’s Jadea Brundidge engaged in an altercation that led to both being called for flagrant fouls and ejected, which brought an automatic one-game suspension for both.
Follow Les East on Twitter, @EastAdvocate.