Alcorn rallies past SU

Only a couple of weeks ago, it appeared the Southern women’s basketball team would enter its Texas swing to close the Southwestern Athletic Conference schedule with a regular-season title on the line.

The Jaguars will instead go into the trip having lost four of their past five and trying to keep their season from coming apart at the seams.

The league leader through the SWAC season’s first 11 games, Southern continued its embarrassing slide Saturday as last-place Alcorn State rallied from 10 points down with less than 10 minutes to play and galloped to a 65-54 win at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

It was Southern’s last home game of the year.

“I’ve been coaching 25 years,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Southern (12-15, 11-5) matched its largest lead when Kendra Coleman’s jumper made it 47-37 with 9:40 left, but the Jaguars were outscored 28-7 the rest of the way. Alcorn (2-23, 2-14), which trailed for 25:47 straight, took a 50-49 advantage at the 4:49 mark and never trailed again.

Tierra Frost scored a game-high 20 points to lead Alcorn, and Carolinsia Crumbly went for 17 points and eight rebounds.

Renelle Richmond finished with 11 points, including 10 in the second half.

Alcorn had lost 11 straight since knocking off Grambling for its only other win of the year.

A postgame ceremony honoring Southern seniors Essence Hopkins, Laneisha Stephens and Lechell Rush included framed jerseys and yellow roses, but the “celebration” had a somber tone given the events that transpired beforehand.

“What this year has been about,” Pugh said, “is the lack of leadership from our senior core. From that standpoint, this game was almost like karma.”

Adrian Sanders, who missed part of the second half with a head injury, with 16 points and Coleman with 11 were Southern’s only double-digit scorers.

The Jaguars shot 50 percent from the field in the first half en route to a 33-24 halftime lead, but went only 9-of-27 the rest of the way. Alcorn shot 52.2 percent from the field in the second half after going 9-of-25 in the first.

While the Braves got to the line 32 times and hit 22 free throws, Southern managed only eight free throws and made five.

But Pugh said she was most disappointed in Southern’s play on the defensive end, especially as Crumbly and Richmond led Alcorn’s run in the final 10 minutes.

“I thought we were 20 points better than that team,” she said.

Picked to finish second in the SWAC’s preseason poll, Southern travels to face Texas Southern on Thursday before closing the regular season Saturday at Prairie View. The Jaguars handed first-place TSU its only conference loss on the opening weekend of league play.

Meanwhile, Mississippi Valley defeated Jackson State 78-64 Saturday to join Southern in second place.

The Jaguars are following a course similar to last year, when they lost three of their final five regular-season games after sitting atop the SWAC through 13, then bowed out of the conference tournament in their first game there.