Kendra Coleman and Britney Washington were the primary reasons the Southern women’s basketball team defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 77-68 on Saturday in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
Coleman scored a game-high 21 points and Washington came off the bench to score 20 as the Jaguars overcame a slow start offensively and an uneven defensive performance.
“I thought the biggest thing in the game was Kendra and Britney just getting to their mid-range jump shots and hitting some shots,” Pugh said. “I thought starting the game we had everybody shooting but the right people.”
But even Coleman and Washington didn’t play well enough to satisfy Pugh, who didn’t make any players available for post-game interviews.
“I look at the opportunity to be in the media as a perk,” Pugh said. “I want them to do that, but not when we play with a lack of passion and intensity. Nobody played well tonight.”
The players have not been available for interviews since it became public knowledge Thursday that all Jaguars athletic teams are facing a postseason ban unless the university can satisfy NCAA demands for paperwork documenting student-athletes’ academic performance in recent years.
Pugh said the players’ post-game unavailability had nothing to do with the NCAA situation and the players would be available after the home game against Mississippi Valley State on Monday, provided the team’s performance warrants it. But even then, the postseason ban will not be addressed by Pugh or the players.
“We’re just going to move on and focus on the regular season,” Pugh said.
The regular season continues to go just fine despite the flaws in Saturday’s performance and the NCAA cloud. The Jaguars (14-6) remained in sole possession of first place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference with an 11-1 record. The Golden Lions are 3-19 and 2-10.
Adrian Sanders had 11 points and 11 rebounds for Southern despite leaving the game briefly in the second half after landing awkwardly and having her left knee wrapped.
Cassidy Wright and Carlisha Walker led UAPB with 12 points each, Destiny Ham scored 11 and Jazmyne Victorian had 10.
The Jaguars led by just three at halftime, but they quickly extended the lead to start the second half. Coleman scored nine points and Washington four as Southern increased the lead to 55-40 with 12 minutes left.
“Kendra hit a couple of big shots for us to get us going,” Pugh said.
Southern’s biggest lead came at 69-52 when Sanders scored on a drive with 6:30 left. The Jaguars played sloppily down the stretch but the lead never got smaller than the final margin.
“I thought defensively we were really sluggish tonight,” Pugh said. “I’m not sure why that was. Every game is critical at this point. They have to step up.”
Southern committed just nine turnovers and forced 19, but got outrebounded 42-38.
“We didn’t do a good job with our weak-side rebounding, boxing out and going to get it,” Pugh said. “You’re getting outrebounded on your home-court. There’s no excuse for that. “
We’re bigger than them. We’ve got to do a better job.”
The lead changed hands 11 times in the first half, which ended with Southern on top 31-28.
Both teams had trouble scoring in the early going. The Jaguars held an early 13-12 lead despite making just five of their first 23 shots.
The Lions had success getting the ball inside as six of their first nine field goals came at the basket, giving them a 19-16 lead.
Washington made three jumpers as Southern grabbed its biggest lead of the half at 29-25.
Two free throws by Wright and one by Walker cut the lead to one before Coleman extended it by making a 15-footer with one second left in the half.