Southern women win with D

The Southern women’s basketball team scored 100 points in its victory against Grambling on Saturday night.

But on Monday night, it was the Jaguars defense that made the difference in a 69-59 victory against Jackson State in the Clark Activity Center.

Southern held the Tigers to 32.4 percent shooting — 21.6 percent in taking a nine-point halftime lead — and forced 17 turnovers, 12 in the first half.

“The defense was a big key,” said forward Jasmine Jefferson, who had a game-high 17 points and a team-high nine rebounds for Southern.

Coach Sandy Pugh emphasized the need for improved defense after the Jaguars allowed Grambling to score 92 points and tighten a game in which Southern had a 25-point lead.

“We did not do a very good job defensively down the stretch of the Grambling game,” Pugh said.

“We wanted our guards to do a better job of getting up and we wanted to shut down some of the passing lanes, and I thought that we did a good job.”

The Jaguars, 7-5 and 4-0 in Southwestern Athletic Conference play, visit Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday. Jackson State is 5-9 and 3-1.

Yasmin Fuller was the only other Southern player to score in double figures, finishing with 13 points. Ekwara Ndongo led the Tigers with 14. Ke’ra St. John, who played at Baton Rouge Community College, scored 11 and had a game-high 10 rebounds.

Southern led by nine at halftime. After St. John scored the first basket of the second half, Jefferson made three consecutive baskets, and Yasmine Nelson added a put-back. That gave the Jaguars a 42-27 edge.

“I made a lot of mistakes in the first half, missed a lot of balls I could have caught,” Jefferson said. “I came out aggressive to do better in the second half, and the team did the same thing.”

Seven points by Ndongo helped the Tigers cut the lead to 10, but Coleman’s 3-pointer and free throw gave Southern a 53-38 lead midway through the half.

Jackson State could not cut the lead to fewer than 10 points until getting within 67-59 with 41 seconds left.

The Jaguars defense was the key to a 12-0 run that gave Southern a 20-8 lead. Cortnei Purnell and Fuller each had two baskets during the run as the Tigers went scoreless for 4½ minutes.

Britney Washington made consecutive layups as the Jaguars took their biggest lead at 27-12 on their way to a 34-25 halftime lead.

Southern shot 50 percent from the floor and didn’t attempt a 3-pointer, but 13 turnovers hampered the offense, which finished with 24.

“That’s too many turnovers and most of them were unforced — fumbled passes,” Pugh said. “We had too many miscues. We definitely did a little better than we did against Grambling, but we’re still not where we need to be.”