The four seniors who will play their final home game for the Southern women’s basketball team Saturday have brought a variety of skills to the program.
Britney Washington brought outside shooting and overall scoring. Kenidi Robinson and Ashley Williams brought toughness and defensive intensity on the inside and outside. Jadea Brundidge brought size and a formidable inside presence.
They have all been key contributors as the Jaguars (16-10, 13-4 Southwestern Athletic Conference) are in position to win at least a share of the conference title with a victory in the regular-season finale. The Lady Panthers are 13-13 and 9-8.
Tip-off is 2 p.m. in the F.G. Clark Activity Center and the seniors will be recognized in a postgame ceremony.
“It’s hard because these are the last two games of my collegiate career and probably basketball in general,” Robinson said. “I just want to go out with a bang. I want to leave and say I gave it my all and leave everything on the court and have no regrets when looking back. I just want the victory. We need a ring. We need another one.”
Robinson (who’s from Hollywood, Florida) Washington and Brundidge are fourth-year seniors who were part of the SWAC regular-season champions two years ago.
Williams transferred in from Baton Rouge Community College before last season, but her Jaguars ties go way back. She has a half-dozen relatives who graduated from Southern, and she grew up going to Jaguars basketball and football games while her brother played in the band.
She hoped to play for the Jaguars from the time she played at Walker High School. She turned down opportunities to play out of state as a freshman and attended BRCC for two seasons before getting a scholarship offer from Southern.
“I wanted all my family and friends to watch me play, and they did.” Williams said. “I’m kind of spoiled and didn’t want to go out of state. I think it all worked out in my favor.”
Brundidge traveled the farthest to be part of the program, migrating all the way from Seattle.
“I’m real excited to play because this is the first time my sister (15-year-old Kayla) has ever seen me play in college,” Brundidge said. “It’s sad at the same time because I’m not going to be able to play with these girls after (this season). We have really good friendships, and we’ll always be friends.”
When Southern played at Prairie View nine weeks ago, Brundidge returned from a one-game absence to attend her grandmother’s funeral and scored seven points in the game’s final six minutes to lead the Jaguars on a 14-4 run that gave them a 65-55 victory.
Coach Sandy Pugh inserted Williams and Robinson into the starting lineup in that game as she searched for greater toughness than the Jaguars showed in losing their conference opener at Texas Southern two days earlier. Both have mostly remained in the lineup.
Washington, who’s from St. Francisville, has been a contributor for four seasons, and is the team’s leading scorer this year.
“It’s bittersweet,” Washington said. “It’s bitter because I’m going to miss basketball, I’m going to miss my teammates. I’m going to miss the bus rides, I’m going to miss all the fun times, the laughs.
“It’s sweet because we’re getting a new milestone in our lives. We’re getting ready to go into the real world. We’re going to go out and find careers and take the next step in life. I’m looking forward to it, but I know I’m going to be sad at the end of the day.”
Pugh said the main thing she’ll remember about this class is that it’s “a fun group.”
“I don’t care who you bring into this team, what their dynamic is, what their background is — they are going to embrace them,” Pugh said. “This team is very close-knit. You’re not going to chew one out without everyone coming over and trying to give her a hug.
“To me, that’s the legacy of this senior squad. They’re very nurturing and very giving and very loving kids. I think that’s the thing I’ll always remember about this senior class.”
“Hopefully,” she said, “the other thing I’ll be able to attach to them is champions.”