Southern’s leading scorer and rebounder, Briana Green, was not her usual superstar self on Saturday.
In the Jaguars' 59-46 win Saturday against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Green scored six points on six shots, her lowest scoring outing since Dec. 9 at Auburn.
When Green has a quiet night like Saturday, the Jaguars (11-10, 10-2 Southwestern Athletic Conference) are in need of a secondary scoring option, coach Sandy Pugh said. More importantly, Southern’s production on both ends of the floor tends to slide with Green.
Even though Saturday was Southern’s 10th win in 12 games against the SWAC, the first-place Jaguars had to power through a rocky, turnover-prone second half.
First place or not, to Pugh, the Jaguars are in need of troubleshooting how to overcome pressure when Green does not provide overpowering offensive production ahead of Monday’s 2 p.m. tipoff against Mississippi Valley State, which is ranked last in the SWAC.
Getting to first place is not easy. Staying composed while there can be just as tough.
“Especially when you’re in first place, everyone is telling them congratulations and good job, that kind of stuff,” Pugh said. “And the energy comes up behind it. I think some of it is nerves. Some of it is classes, you know. We have some kids that are good students, so I think they’re processing a lot of that. We’ve just got to get them to refocus.
“We have to hold their feet to the fire. They have to hold each other’s feet to the fire … But Briana’s got to show up. I thought a lot of what was going on was her not being her normal Briana Green."
Some of Southern’s Saturday issues originated from the absence of guard Courtney Parsons, who was ruled out of Saturday’s game after injuring her ankle in Monday’s 68-58 win at Jackson State.
“We had a rotation issue with (Parsons) being out,” Pugh said. “Hopefully we’ll have (Parsons) back.”
In their first meeting, the Jaguars pounded Mississippi Valley State 70-54 on Jan. 15. Mississippi Valley State (2-22, 2-10 SWAC) defeated Alcorn State 62-61 on Saturday to get its second win since Jan. 27.
“With Mississippi Valley, they have a couple of super quick guards who have been shooting the basketball very well from the perimeter,” Pugh said. “It’ll be a fast-paced game Monday night. We’ve get up and cover their shooters and keep them out of the lane.”
Tipoff for Southern's men's will immediately follow the women Monday afternoon.