HOUSTON — Every time she touches the basketball, Southern senior guard Britney Washington hears the screams.
“All you hear is ‘That’s shooter! Guard shooter!’ ” Washington said. “They know every time I’m on the court.”
As Southern’s leading returning scorer on a young team that has yet to fully develop other offensive options, Washington has a big spotlight on her at all times. In the Lady Jaguars’ 59-45 Southwestern Athletic Conference loss at Texas Southern on Saturday, it was never more apparent.
Washington scored a team-high 14 points but had to take 17 shots to make it happen.
Cortnei Purnell was the only other Jaguar to reach double-figures with 10 points, and Ashley Williams was the only other Jaguars player who took more than six shots.
With another Texas showdown looming against Prairie View on Monday, Southern coach Sandy Pugh knows she will need others to join the party.
“In games like this, you need multiple scorers,” Pugh said. “You need three or four kids to be in double figures for you. I’ve said this from Day 1, but Britney, Cortnei and Briana (Green) have got to all score for us.”
In addition to offense, Pugh is also looking for her returning players to take a leadership role on a team that is replacing Kendra Coleman and Jasmine Jefferson.
On Saturday, eight Jaguars made their SWAC debuts. Washington, Purnell, Green, Williams and Kenidi Robinson were the only familiar faces in the lineup.
“It has to start on the backs of Britney, Briana and Courtnei,” Pugh said. “They’ve got to accept that role and step up and they have to help identify us. When you have seniors on your team like Kenidi and Britney, you have a higher expectation as far as leadership and focus. I’m not seeing the passion.
“Even when we got down 11-4, I didn’t see the passion or that leader step up. And that has concerned me all season.”
The Jaguars fell behind TSU by 21 points in the first half. Washington was unable to find her shot until the second half, when there wasn’t enough time for a comeback.
“I think maybe we were a little nervous heading into the game,” Washington said. “Maybe we were a little too overconfident, but we just need to forget it, do what we need to do to focus and get ready for next game.”
On Monday, Southern (3-7, 0-1) faces a Prairie View team that beat Alcorn State 58-54 on Saturday. The Lady Panthers are led by Lamaria Cole (15.7 points per game), Larissa Scott (11.7) and Alexus Parker (10.1).
If the Jaguars are going to have success, they, too, will need more than one scoring option.
Behind Washington (12.8 points per game), Green (9.1) and Purnell (7.5) remain in single digits.
Freshman guard Skylar O’Bear (6.9) is fourth on the team in scoring.
“We’ve got to find more offense and more passion — it’s as simple as that,” Pugh said.