Britney Washington saved her best for last, and it enabled the Southern women’s basketball team to hold off Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Washington made 3-of-13 shots during the first 36 minutes, then scored the Jaguars’ final nine points as they beat the Lady Golden Lions 74-70 on Saturday afternoon in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
“I just got to the realization that I needed to make shots,” said Washington, who finished with 18 points. “I felt a little more focused at the end. For some strange reason, I shoot better with a hand in my face. Luckily, the hand was there. I just started to hit shots and got a rhythm going, and I started to focus a lot more.”
Twice in that late run Washington beat the shot-clock buzzer by making jumpers. UAPB, which trailed by 12 points early in the fourth quarter, got within three before Washington swished a jumper from the top of the key at the shot clock buzzer.
“It’s crunch time, and you’ve got the shot clock running down and you really have no choice but to focus,” Washington said. “I just tried to envision the ball going in the net, and that’s what it did thankfully.”
Moments later, Southern led by four before Washington hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock approached zero and the game clock reached 45 seconds. She made two free throws to double a two-point lead with 5.9 seconds left.
“Brit did a tremendous job going down the back stretch,” said forward Briana Green, who scored a game-high 22 points but fouled out with 2:49 left. “She understands at the end, especially when I’m not in the game, she has to step up a lot more when it comes to putting points on the board.”
The Jaguars, 9-3 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and 12-10 overall, host Mississippi Valley State on Monday. The Lady Golden Lions are 4-8 and 7-16, including 0-13 in road games.
The score was tied at 45 before Ashley Williams, who had 10 points and seven rebounds, led a 12-2 Southern run to finish the third quarter.
She made a steal that led to Washington feeding Green for a layup, then made two free throws, had another steal and scored a basket after grabbing an offensive rebound.
“We can always count on Ashley to turn up the defensive intensity, Washington said. “That’s what we look for her to do. She’s our defensive intensity person. Whenever we want to turn up the intensity on defense, we look to her to do it and we feed off of her on defense.”
Cornei Purnell’s jumper and two free throws by Danayea Charles sent the Jaguars into the fourth quarter with a 57-47 lead.
Green, Miaya Crowder, who had 10 points and seven rebounds, Kenidi Robinson and Jadea Brundidge each made one field goal in the fourth quarter before Washington took over.
Ajia Richardson led UAPB with 16 points, Destiny Brewton had 15 points and 11 assists, Diamond Richardson scored 15 and Niya Head had 14 points and eight rebounds.