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Southern University's Nakia Kincey attempts a steal against Jackson State's Dayzsha Rogan on Monday night at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

It's no secret that the Southern women's basketball team has struggled to make outside shots this season, and it means the Jaguars have seen lots of zone defenses thrown at them.

Southern (7-9, 7-3 SWAC) has relied on its own defense to take hold of fourth place in the conference standings. Last Monday against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the Jaguars finally showed they could count on their shooting touch.

With the score tied 30-30 at halftime, Southern took control in the third quarter, making 10 of 17 shots and outscoring the Golden Lions 31-12. Senior guard Nakia Kincey finished with a career-high 19 points on the heels of 5 of 9 shooting from 3-point range.

“A lot of teams play a zone because they know that we’ve struggled,” Kincey said. “But in the third quarter we shot lights out so we know what we’re capable of. We’re confident we can keep this going, and it can happen every game.”

Accurate shooting will come in handy this week when Southern hosts Alabama State and Alabama A&M.

The Hornets (10-1, 10-1) defeated Southern 60-56 in Montgomery, Alabama, on Jan. 25, and are currently in first in the SWAC standings, half a game ahead of Jackson State. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. Monday.

Southern’s first game with Alabama A&M, scheduled for Jan. 23 in Huntsville, Alabama, was postponed because of COVID-19 quarantining in the Bulldogs women's team. The second meeting, scheduled for last Saturday, was pushed back due to inclement weather.

A&M (7-3, 5-2), the SWAC’s third-place team, visits Southern on Wednesday. The game will begin at noon.

Defense will be a key for Southern in both games. The Jaguars have forced 337 turnovers for the season, the most in the SWAC. They also lead the league with a plus-6.1 turnover margin.

“Defense is going to have to win it for us,” Kincey said. “Of course we need to put the ball in the hole, but defense is going to be big.”

Both games will carry extra meaning for Kincey, a senior team captain from Clopton, Alabama.

“Whenever we play any team from back home, I play with a chip on my shoulder,” she said.

Southern men look to gain ground in SWAC

The Southern men's team (5-8, 5-4) will try to gain momentum with home games against two teams it lost to on the road.

On Jan. 23, the Jaguars took a 9-0 lead at Alabama A&M (6-3, 4-3) before an onslaught of 3-pointers by Garrett Hicks led the Bulldogs to a 68-58 win. Hicks made seven 3-pointers and scored a game-high 27 points.

The teams play Monday at 7:30 p.m.

Two days after losing to A&M, Southern led Alabama State (4-8, 4-8) by 12 points early in the second half, but eventually lost 66-64. Southern gets another shot at the Hornets on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.