Kendra Coleman seems to be getting the hang of her evolving role in the Southern backcourt.
The Jaguars’ long-time shooting guard has taken periodic stints as the point guard as coach Sandy Pugh has sought more stable decision-making. But there are still plenty of times the team needs Coleman to think and act like the talented scorer she is.
Pugh and Coleman have discussed the hybrid role throughout the season, but a visit during an individual workout last Monday preceded one of Coleman and Southern’s most complete performances of the season.
“She was thinking that I just wanted her to run the offense every trip, come down and pass and do the routine stuff, which was taking her out of her rhythm of what she needed to be doing,” Pugh said. “There’s a time and place for playmaking, but we need her to set the tone and set it early.
“After she and I visited, I told her, ‘This game, I want you to be aggressive, I want you to get to your midrange jump shot. I want you to take shots. I need you to score.’ She said, ‘OK, Coach, I’ll be ready to go.’”
Coleman was, and she had her most-efficient shooting performance in a Southwestern Athletic Conference game, making 8-of-15 field goals, and one of her best-balanced games with 19 points and four assists.
“I’m really proud of Kendra,” said guard Britney Washington, who scored a game-high 21 points on 10-of-18 shooting Saturday. “She was getting off her shots and at the same time looking for her teammates.”
Coleman will try to build on that outing, and the Jaguars (10-10, 8-2) will seek their eighth straight victory when they meet Jackson State (4-6, 7-14) at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
Pugh has had Bunny Scott run the offense when she needs scoring from Coleman, and had Washington as the shooting guard when Coleman runs the show. When all three are on the court at the same time, opponents have to be wary of Washington and Coleman, the Jaguars top two outside shooters.
“It depends on the situation,” Coleman said. “She’ll put me at the one if she wants to control the game and we’re up by a certain amount of points. But if we needs scores, I’m going to be at the two position.”
Pugh said she had her in-depth talk with Coleman because “I thought it was important that we get back same page. I just wanted to see her be aggressive.”
Coleman said she was more focused on her midrange jumper than 3-pointers. She made 1-of-5 on 3-pointers and 7-of-10 on 2-pointers.
“I didn’t take too many 3s,” Coleman said. “I was really trying to attack and get to my midrange.
“(Pugh) really wanted me to get to my midrange. I was focusing on what she said. She wanted me to attack and be more aggressive the way I can be.”
Southern beat the Tigers 77-61 on Jan. 12 in Jackson, Mississippi, to start their win streak.
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.