SU tries to rebound at Texas Southern

The Southern women’s basketball team opened Southwestern Conference play with a 72-60 victory over Texas Southern on Jan. 2 at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

The Tigers have not lost since.

Southern, meanwhile, cruised along to finish the first half of the conference schedule tied with TSU (19-9, 15-1) for first place. But the Jaguars (12-15, 11-5) enter their rematch with the Tigers at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Houston having lost four of their past five games and desperate to recapture some momentum.

“This is a game where you wanted to go into Texas playing for a championship,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said after Southern’s 65-54 loss to Alcorn State on Saturday. The best the Jaguars can hope for now is to join Mississippi Valley State (15-13, 12-5) in second place.

Valley, leading Southern by one-half game in the standings, has eighth-place Arkansas-Pine Bluff at home Thursday to wrap up the regular season. Southern travels to play fourth-place Prairie View, the defending SWAC tournament champion, Saturday in its regular-season finale.

As for the Tigers, they look to make it 16 straight wins Thursday as they prepare to enter the conference tournament March 12-16 as the No. 1 seed.

Southern’s four losses over the past five games have come against teams it beat by double figures in the first half of the SWAC season. The loss to Alcorn was the second straight for the Jaguars on their home floor after Southern started 7-0 at home in conference games. Alcorn entered that game with just one win in league play.

Now the Jaguars turn their focus to a TSU team that leads the league in scoring offense and ranks second in scoring defense.

Teera Williams averages 12.1 points to lead a balanced offensive attack has four players averaging double figures. Crystal Anyiem averages just 3.2 points but helps anchor the defense with a SWAC-best average of two blocks per game.

“We’re going to sit down as a staff and see if we can’t go on the road and make some things happen,” Pugh said.

In the first meeting with TSU, Southern used a 23-0 run that began with 13:03 left in the first half to go from seven points down to 16 points ahead.

The Jaguars led the rest of the way.

Kendra Coleman led Southern with 15 points, followed by Jasmine Jefferson with 12.