The Southern women’s basketball team might have a hard time remembering what home cooking at the F.G. Clark Activity Center feels like once January comes around.
At 2-1, the Jaguars are coming off a pair of home wins, 78-55 over Wiley College and a 100-39 conquest of Tougaloo College. The scenery will change as Southern hits the road for its next 10 games.
The extended road trip will feature games in the Midwest, New York and south Florida, and will be part of a 57-day break between home game for the Jaguars. Highlights include a Nov. 24 game at Texas, ranked in the current AP and coaches polls, and two games in the Miami Holiday Classic during Christmas week.
Southern opens SWAC play with games at Texas Southern and Prairie View in the first week of January before returning home to face rival Grambling on Jan. 11.
Jaguars coach Carlos Funchess sees enough advantages to make the schedule work in his team’s favor.
“We use being on the road as a team building thing,” he said. “The players do have study hall but it's a time when we can really focus on basketball. Regardless of who the opponent is we can execute the things we’ve been practicing and build some chemistry.”
Southern opens up the road trip Sunday when it visits Wichita State (0-2). Tipoff is 2 p.m. The Jaguars will follow that with a visit to Nebraska for a 7 p.m. game Wednesday.
Chemistry has been an important factor in the early season for Southern, which has rotated 11 players in and out of its lineup on a regular basis. It's an approach that served the Jaguars well last season when they won the SWAC regular season and tournament titles.
Southern has had to replace four key members of last season’s team, and is also dealing with the loss of 6-foot-1 sophomore Cailain Williams, who will redshirt after suffering a knee injury. Newcomers have gotten regular playing time include freshman forward Raven White, freshmen guards Genovea Johnson and Chloe Fleming, and a pair of junior college transfers at guard, Nakia Kincey and Caitlin Davis.
The abundance of players allows Funchess to mix and match his lineup, which is just the way he likes it.
"When we go to our bench there’s not a drop off,” Funchess said. “We don’t lose anything at any position. There might be one or two players that do some things a little bit better, but everybody is pretty equal. We can throw a lot of looks at an opponent.”
Through three games, senior guard Brittany Rose leads Southern in scoring at 16 points per game. Preseason all-SWAC selection Alyric Scott, a junior, has averaged 9.0 points and 4.3 rebounds. Sophomore forward Taneara Moore is pulling down 5.5 rebounds a game.
SOUTHERN MEN HOME ON MONDAY: The Jaguars host (1-2) Ecclesia College (1-6) at 6:30 p.m. Monday. Southern is coming off a 79-63 loss at New Mexico State on Thursday. Southern trailed 64-58 in the second half, but could get no closer. Micah Bradford led the Jaguars with 15 points and Montese Blake added 12.