The Southern women’s basketball team had a pretty simple plan for its game against Texas Southern on Monday night.
“Going into this game,” Jaguars coach Sandy Pugh said afterward, “I thought the biggest factors were defensive intensity — make sure our rotations were solid — and we definitely needed to rebound.”
Texas Southern got the better of Southern in both of those areas on its way to a 62-48 victory in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. The Lady Tigers improved to 5-8 and 2-0 in Southwestern Athletic Conference play. The Jaguars (3-9, 1-1) play at Grambling on Saturday.
TSU sophomore forward Alexus Johnson scored 25 points in 29 minutes, making 8 of 12 shots, including 3 of 4 3-pointers. She and teammate Morgan Simmons each had a game-high eight rebounds as the Lady Tigers outrebounded the Jaguars 40-25.
“Alexus hit some big buckets for us,” TSU coach Johnetta Hayes-Perry said. “We were able to rebound the basketball and limit them to one shot. You let Southern have two shots, you’re going to lose.”
Jasmine Jefferson led the Jaguars with 12 points and Kendra Coleman scored 10, but she made just 3 of 11 shots. Leading scorer Britney Washington had six points, making 2 of 8 shots.
“We just wanted to make sure we covered up Kendra Coleman and Britney Washington,” Hayes-Perry said
Johnson was dominant as the Lady Tigers took a 37-30 halftime lead. She scored 15 points after making 5 of 6 field goals, her only 3-point attempt and all four of her free throws.
At the start of the second half, Johnson made a 3-pointer and scored on a putback as TSU increased its lead to 12.
Jefferson made two baskets and Keonia Parrish made a 3-pointer as Southern closed within four midway through the second half.
Johnson went to the bench after committing her fourth foul with 11:29 left, but the Jaguars went cold.
Cortnei Purnell’s two jumpers were the only field goals Southern made after Johnson committed her fourth foul.
“The biggest problem was we started looking for the ‘me’ shot instead of the ‘we’ shot,” Pugh said.
The Lady Tigers finished with a 13-3 run during the final 10 minutes.
“We kind of lost our composure,” Coleman said. “We didn’t execute on offense, rebound or play much defense. Everybody wasn’t in rhythm. We weren’t running anything. We just got out of the flow. When we got down, everybody threw up shots. We weren’t focused.”
The Jaguars made just 5 of 15 field goals in the second half and shot just eight free throws in the game, making five.
“Fundamental stuff, we just didn’t do it,” Pugh said. “You can’t stand and watch other people shoot the basketball. I wasn’t really happy with the effort. That lack of leadership showed up.”
Johnson gave the Lady Tigers their first lead at 13-11 when she made a jumper from the circle. She made three more baskets, including a 3-pointer, as TSU took a 27-23 lead.
Southern pulled even as Jadea Brundidge made a layup and Coleman made two free throws.
Johnson scored four points during a 10-0 Lady Tigers run before Coleman made a 3-pointer with 5 seconds left, leaving TSU with a 37-30 halftime lead.