“SWAC-tion. You’ve got to love it.” SANDY PUGH, Southern women’s coach on the team’s win over Grambling
GRAMBLING — Southern women’s basketball coach Sandy Pugh walked out of the visitor’s locker room, shook her head and said, “I’ve never seen anything like that in all my days.”
She was referring to the Jaguars’ bizarre 74-72 victory against Grambling on Saturday afternoon in the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.
Pugh had just watched the Tigers cut her team’s late lead from eight points to two on one trip up the floor. Then she saw her team fall behind, regain the lead, have a chance to put it away, turn it over and withstand a missed layup just before the buzzer.
“SWAC-tion,” Pugh said. “You’ve got to love it.”
Southern (12-6 overall), which hadn’t played since suffering its first league loss to Alcorn State a week earlier, remained in first place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference at 9-1. The Jaguars play at Jackson State on Monday. Grambling is 8-13, 5-5.
Kendra Coleman led Southern with 25 points, making all 12 of her free throws to compensate for making 6-of-21 field goals, including 1-of-8 3-pointers. Britney Washington came off the bench to score 16 points, including 12 during a pivotal stretch of the second half.
Quitesha Scott scored 11 points and Jasmine Jefferson had 10 points and nine rebounds before fouling out.
Dennisha Chambers led Grambling with 25 points, Victoya Ricks had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Jasmine Godbolt had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Tigers led by as many as 12 in the first half and took a four-point lead into the second half. Southern briefly took the lead at 41-40 before Grambling rebuilt a 50-43 lead midway through the second half.
Washington, who was scoreless in the first half, scored 12 points, including three 3-pointers, in 3 1/2 minutes as the Jaguars took a 63-57 lead with four minutes left.
“I was getting tired of Grambling,” Washington said. “I was sick of them. We can beat this team. There was no reason we should have been down to them.
“Usually when I get mad, I start making shots. After I made that first one, I thought my shot was on.”
Southern seemed in control when Coleman made two technical free throws to give the Jaguars a 69-61 lead with just under two minutes remaining.
Godbolt made one free throw and missed a second, but Southern knocked the rebound out of bounds.
Victoya Ricks was fouled, made the first and missed the second. Grambling’s possession continued as there was a held ball on the rebound and the possession arrow pointed the Tigers’ way.
After a missed jumper and another offensive rebound, Chambers was fouled while making a layup and she added the free throw. Southern’s Jadea Brundidge was called for a foul while the free throw was in the air and Godbolt made one of two to complete the six-point trip and cut the Jaguars lead to 69-67.
“It was crazy,” Scott said. “Coach was telling us just to keep our cool, maintain our composure and play our game.”
After Tyler Anderson’s offensive rebound and three-point play gave Grambling a one-point lead, Washington scored on a drive to put the Jaguars back on top 71-70 with one minute left.
“Brit was just huge for us,” Pugh said.
After a Tigers miss, Scott made one of two free throws, and Anderson scored on a drive to tie the score with 31 seconds left. But Scott was fouled immediately after receiving an in-bounds pass, and she made both free throws.
The Jaguars got the ball back with 16 seconds left when Adrian Sanders drew a charging foul against Chambers. A Southern shot was blocked out of bounds, and Scott in-bounded with 8.5 seconds.
She lofted a pass from underneath the basket toward Yasmin Fuller at the top of the key, but the ball was tipped and intercepted by Grambling.
Jessica Watkins took the ball to the basket and missed a layup as the seconds ticked away. Scott chased the play down from baseline to baseline and rebounded.
“I couldn’t find anybody open,” Sott said of the in-bounds pass. “I just tried to throw it up and the ball got tipped. I was just hoping she’d miss the layup and we’d have a chance to get the ball back.”
A few seconds after Scott rebounded, she was fouled. The scoreboard clock showed 1.2 seconds left, but the officials ruled the game was over after the clock was apparently stopped before the whistle blew.
“I didn’t need an explanation,” Pugh said. “All I needed to know was it was over and we won. I’m taking my ‘W’ and leaving.”