HOUSTON — With an NCAA tournament berth already off the table, the Southern women’s basketball team’s season had to end this weekend.
It just wasn’t supposed to end like this.
Forget the Lady Jaguars No. 1 seed in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament. No. 4 seed Praire View A&M came in playing well and enjoyed an environment close to home, making the upset a mild one.
But Southern’s prolific offense entered Friday’s 72-43 semifinal loss with the top scoring in the league, averaging a shade under 74 points per game.
That hefty total was largely the work of the Jaguars four-headed monster, with Kendra Coleman, Jasmine Jefferson, Britney Washington and Adrian Sanders carrying the scoring load.
When Southern hit scoring lulls this season, one of them would always keep the Jaguars above water.
Instead of sinking buckets on Friday nights, Southern’s season sunk with its offense, as no scorer reached double figures for the Jaguars.
“We were out of sync, out of order and our point guards never got us in any kind of rhythm,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said. “We seemed to be really unsure and second-guessing what we were supposed to do.”
The foursome combined for a mere 26 points, their lowest output of the season.
The 51.8 points per game that they’ve averaged? Southern didn’t even reach that mark as a team. Even in seven previous losses, the Jaguars had still managed 65.6 points per defeat.
This was different. Pugh said she felt it from the opening tip.
The first three possessions kind of summed up this game,” she said. “Anytime you have Kendra on the floor and you gave her the ball, she was hesitant. The ball hits her hand, she’s got to go get us a basket on that opening tip.”
“We threw the ball down (low) instead, and it went out of bounds. We had a couple more good looks, but we just weren’t aggressive after that.”
Coleman scored a season-low four points on 2-of 12 shooting, finishing the game 13 points below her team-leading average. It was her lowest point total since she was shutout at Marshall on Nov. 25, 2012.
Pugh gave some credit to a pesky A&M defense, which swarmed Southern shooters with a particular focus on Coleman.
“We’ll scout a team based on what they like to do,” said Prairie View coach Dawn Brown. “So what we did on defense is take away their first option. Anything they liked to do with preference, we were ready.”
The vaunted Southern offense wasn’t, and a woeful 15-for-59 shooting night was the result.
“If you shoot 25 percent in a tournament game, you’re going to lose,” Pugh said. “Actually, you’ll lose that game at any level.”