Southern focused on defense as Southeastern comes calling

The Southern women’s basketball team will return to Avery Johnson Court at 5:30 p.m. Monday for the second time in a four-day span as the Jaguars host in-state rival Southeastern Louisiana.

The Jaguars are coming off an 82-57 victory over Talladega College on Friday night in which four Southern players finished in double figures in scoring.

The Jaguars were led by junior forward Jasmine Jefferson’s 19 points and 14 rebounds.

Despite Southern’s seemingly convincing 25-point victory Friday, the Jaguars had trouble separating themselves from their opponents in the early going.

Including the exhibition contest against Talladega on Nov. 1, Southern has outscored its opponents 75-58 in the first half of the two contests.

In the second half of those games, the Jaguars hold a 91-48 advantage.

“I thought our kids did a better job of finding our bigs (down low) in the second half (of the Talladega game),” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said.

“Which made (the defense) have to collapse and opened up the perimeter. We also did a better job of getting out in transition and stopping them in transition.”

Southeastern is 1-0 after defeating Mobile 78-68 Friday night.

The Lions were led by junior guard Symone Miller, who scored 35 points — the most by a Southeastern player since 2004.

The Lions also received heavy contribution from sophomore forward Nanna Pool, who had 23 points and 19 rebounds.

Pool set a school record for field-goal percentage, converting all 10 of her shot attempts.

An emphasis Pugh has placed on her team in the preseason and in the early season has been defensive pressure.

The Jaguars forced 26 turnovers in their last game, and Pugh continues to seek an increase of defensive pressure.

Southeastern poses a viable threat offensively with Miller and Pool.

Monday will provide a true test to gauge where Southern stands defensively.

“We’re not anticipating well enough defensively,” Pugh said. “It’s early season, but the players are second-guessing themselves a little too much. I want to see them just go, and the other person rotate. When we are able to get to that point, we are really going to do a great job defensively of getting into the passing lanes.”