The Southern women's basketball team held Prairie View scoreless over an eight-minute span in the first half, sparking the Jaguars to a 63-51 win over Prairie View on Saturday afternoon at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
Southern (15-14, 13-5) came into the game having locked up the No. 3 seed in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament — a spot that guaranteed it will host a first-round game on Tuesday.
The only question for Southern was who the opponent would be, but the Jaguars took care of that by defeating Prairie View (12-18, 9-9) for the second time this season.
The loss means Prairie View will finish sixth. The Panthers will be back in Baton Rouge on Tuesday for the SWAC tournament game.
“We’re going to have to make some adjustments,” Southern coach Carlos Funchess said of his team’s third meeting with Prairie View this season. “They’ll make adjustments; we’ll make adjustments. It will be like a chess match.”
Brittany Rose scored 10 points to lead 10 Jaguars in the scoring column. Kayla Watson was everywhere, contributing nine points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals. Alyric Scott had a team-high seven rebounds and nine points.
The opening minutes of Saturday’s game belonged to Prairie View’s Diana Rosenthal, who made her first four shots from the floor. Her last jumper gave the Panthers a 13-6 lead, but Rosenthal and her teammates went cold after that.
Rosenthal finished with 14 points.
“They hit some tough shots in the first quarter,” Funchess said. “They were all contested, and if they keep hitting shots like that, it's going to be a long night. We did a good job getting a handle on that, and then late in the game.”
After trailing by seven points, Southern went on a 16-0 run that carried well into the second quarter. By the time Prairie View’s Jadah Martin broke up the run with two free throws, Prairie View had gone eight minutes without scoring, and the Panthers trailed 22-15.
Southern held Prairie View to 1 of 10 shooting in the second quarter as its lead grew. Amani McWain’s steal and layup gave Southern a 33-18 lead with 37 seconds left in the second quarter, and that score held up until halftime.
Southern took a 51-35 lead into the fourth quarter before Prairie View made one final run. Kennedi Heard hit back-to-back 3-pointers to pull Prairie View within 58-51 with 3:50 left to play. Genovea Johnson scored on a drive and Caitlin Davis hit a long 3-pointer from the top of the key to put the game out of reach.
“Coach (Sandy) Pugh is a championship coach, and I didn’t expect anything less than them fighting back,” Funchess said.
Senior Jaden Towner, who has been sidelined by an ankle injury, started the game wearing a medical boot. Southern quickly called time to bring in a substitute as the home crowd recognized her. As she left the floor, Towner got a hug from Pugh, who recruited her to Southern.