Coach Sandy Pugh walked to midcourt at the F.G. Clark Activity Center with a finger pointed to the sky.

Southern's women's basketball players mobbed one another nearby in celebration.

Southern, which began this season as an underestimated team with unproven talent and few lofty expectations, clinched the Southwestern Athletic Conference regular-season title with a 96-58 win against Prairie View on Saturday.

"I'm just happy to see it happen for them," Pugh said.

Pugh's finger aimed high signified the end of a remarkable season — something perhaps she expected in October when not many others did.

The league’s coaches and sports information directors, who are as well-versed in the happenings of SWAC basketball as anyone, chose Southern — which will hold their celebratory net-cutting ceremony Sunday — to finish fourth in their preseason poll.

“In 19 years, I think when it’s all set and done, this team has potential to go down as one of my best teams ever," Pugh said on Nov. 10.

All season long, the Jaguars went about proving the doubters wrong. Saturday, Southern’s mission was completed.

“It's an amazing feeling," senior forward Briana Green said. "We're sitting here as regular-season champions. So, you know, it's all right."

Southern (15-12, 14-4 SWAC) will be the No. 1 seed in the SWAC tournament beginning Tuesday. Southern will host No. 8 seed Mississippi Valley State at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

Texas Southern, which defeated Southern on Thursday to tie the Jaguars atop the standings, lost 54-52 at Alcorn State on Saturday afternoon to give Southern the outright championship.

Southern’s clincher began with a blazing start. The Jaguars scorched Prairie View with one of their most dominant first quarters of the season. An 18-4 lead grew to 28-7 and 30-14 by the quarter’s end.

The Jaguars’ 53-28 lead at halftime was no different. Revved to maximum ferocity, Southern’s defense created chaos from the tip and even stepped on the gas in the second half, extending the lead to more than 30 for multiple minutes.

Prairie View was baited into 15 turnovers, missed 38 shots and could never get into any offensive rhythm thanks to Southern.

Green and guard Samantha Duncan, the Jaguars’ seniors honored before their final regular-season home game, jolted Southern’s strongest offensive performance of the season to a season-high 96 points. Green had 27 points. Duncan added 21.

"We had to go out and give them a show," Green said. "And make sure we come out with a win and also a championship. We both delivered."