The Southern women’s basketball team has nine new players, and coach Sandy Pugh has set basic goals for the season opener against Spring Hill College on Friday night.
“I want to see a lot basic fundamentals,” said Pugh, who begins her 16th season when the teams tip off at 5:30 p.m. in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. “I want to see the kids execute what they’ve been taught.
“I want to see them play Southern women’s basketball. I’ve been stressing that — fast pace, intense, up in their face, control the game tempo from beginning to end, keep them out of the lane, box and board. I don’t want to see (Spring Hill) shooting 30 free throws.”
Forward Brianna Green, the Southwestern Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year last season and one of two veterans who will be in the starting lineup, said there’s at least one area the Jaguars need to improve in after a preseason scrimmage against Southeastern Louisiana University.
“We have to be more patient with the ball,” Green said. “We had a lot of turnovers. We have to keep playing together, stay focused, keep playing our game and not get sidetracked.”
Pugh is looking at three newcomers as potential starters at point guard: junior Kadesha Barry and freshmen Courtney Parsons and Danayea Charles.
“Each brings something different to table,” Pugh said.
Pugh said that “next to Keonia Parrish”, who was a backup point guard the last two seasons, Barry “is the fastest kid we’ve ever had.”
“You might not like everything that you see,” Pugh said with a smile, “but whatever happens is going to happen really fast.”
Pugh said Parsons “has a chance to be as good as any point guard we’ve ever had here.”
She called Charles, a walk-on from Helen Cox, “a pleasant surprise.”
“She listens,” Pugh said. “She plays with a lot of toughness and she plays bigger than she is (5-foot-6).”
Freshman Skylar O’Bear from White Castle will start at shooting guard in the absence of senior Britney Washington, who is awaiting academic certification from the university.
Green will be joined in the frontcourt by junior Cortnei Purnell and freshman Miaya Crowder, a transfer from Meridian (Miss.) Community College.
“I think this game is to prepare us for the games we have coming up,” Purnell said. “The main thing is to make sure we play well together as a team.”
Southern follows this game with another home game against South Alabama on Nov. 20 before embarking on a stretch comprised of road games against Nebraska, Kansas State, Iowa State and Maryland.
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.