The last time Southern played Alcorn State it had to claw its way back from a 17-point halftime deficit to escape Lorman, Mississippi, with a narrow victory.
When the teams met again Saturday afternoon in the F.G. Clark Activity Center, the Jaguars came away with a much less stressful victory.
They used a 14-0 run to take control midway through the first half and coasted to a 76-55 victory.
“Last time we were down 17 at halftime so we knew they would come in thinking they were supposed to beat us,” guard Britney Washington said. “So the plan was to jump on them early and we hit some early shots.”
Washington did her part, scoring nine of her team’s first 15 points, and finished with 18 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Kendra Coleman, one of six seniors playing their last home game, had 17 points, and freshman Briana Green added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Southern won its 13th consecutive game to improve to 14-2 in the Southwestern Athletic conference and 16-10 overall. It visits Prairie View on Thursday. The Lady Braves are 8-8 and 9-16.
Southern built a 16-point halftime lead as it forced 16 turnovers and limited Alcorn to 8-for-27 shooting. In the first meeting the Jaguars forced 14 turnovers and limited the Lady Braves to 6-for-21 shooting as they outscored them 46-21 in the second half.
With the roles reverses Saturday, Alcorn wasn’t able to muster the same type of second-half charge.
It did cut the lead to 13 after seven minutes, but Coleman made a 15-footer and fellow senior Jasmine Jefferson got her first points on a three-point play.
Norianna Haynes, who led Alcorn with 19 points and 11 rebounds, made three straight field goals to get the Lady Braves back within 13.
“Norianna really got going,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said.
“We knew her offensive tendencies, but we were hesitant at times. We had some missed communication. We still have a lot to work on.”
Washington’s two baskets started a 10-0 run that ended with two free throws by Coleman and a 23-point lead with 5½ minutes left.
After that Pugh gradually pulled each of her seniors as Bunny Scott, Keonia Parrish, Yasmine Nelson and Shaquandria Litmon followed Coleman and Jefferson to the bench.
“We got a great effort from everyone,” Coleman said. “They made sure we had a great senior night and we enjoyed it.”
Alcorn held a 10-9 lead before Southern got on track offensively.
Coleman’s first basket triggered a 14-0 run that included two jumpers by Washington and six points from Ashley Williams.
The Jaguars turned up the pressure defensively and the Lady Braves wilted as they did in the second half of the first meeting. Alcorn went 8 ½ minutes without a field goal, managing just three free throws in that span.
Coleman settled in and made consecutive 3-pointers as Southern expanded the lead.
Three points by Parrish pushed Southern’s lead to 17 before Haynes beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer that left the Jaguars lead at 36-20 at halftime.
“Coach told us we needed lock down and not allow them any good looks at all,” Coleman said. “We really focused on what she said.”
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.