JONESBORO, Ark. — Southern could never find a rhythm on the offensive end in a 68-45 loss to Arkansas State in the first round of the WNIT on Thursday night.
The Jaguars trailed 32-18 at halftime and shot just 26 percent (8-for-30) from the floor in the first half. Despite their poor first-half shooting, they were able to limit Arkansas State from deep, holding the Red Wolves to just 10 percent (1-for-10) shooting.
Southern Miaya Crowder to an ankle injury less than two minutes into the game, and it forced Southern to change their rotation.
“I don’t know if it was Miaya going out and having to change our rotation, but we were just really inconsistent,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said.
Southern was 3-for-15 (20 percent) from the field in the second quarter and was outscored 12-6.
“The biggest difference game was that we didn’t score at all, especially in the first half,” Pugh said.
Coming out of halftime, Southern continued to struggle on the offensive end. The Jaguars shot just 38.5 percent from the field in the third quarter, and were outscored 18-11.
“We got out of character,” Pugh said. “Their defensive intensity set the tone for the game. They did a good job getting into us and crashing our passing lanes and disrupting our rhythm.”
Southern battled in the fourth quarter, but it was to little to late for the Jaguars.
“We did some good things and forced a couple turnovers with the trap we ran, but when you don’t score the ball, you can’t maintain pace,” Pugh said.
Southern was led by Britney Washington, who scored 12 points on 5 of 17 shooting in her last game as a Jaguar. Washington also added six rebounds and four steals. Rishonti Cowart rounded out the Jaguars’ double-digit scoring efforts with 10 points on 4 of 10 shooting.
Southern finished with 21 turnovers, and Arkansas State scored 20 points off of those turnovers.
“Going forward and building upon next year, I saw some really good things out of my freshmen,” Pugh said. “Hats off to Arkansas State, though. They set the tone early and got us rattled early on.”
With the loss, Southern was eliminated from the WNIT, while A-State will await the winner of the UTEP/Abilene Christian game.