The early season struggles continued for the Southern University women’s basketball team Tuesday as the Jaguars suffered their worst defeat of the season, 63-41, at the hands of South Alabama at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
The loss puts Southern at 0-3 to start the season, but the game was one coach Sandy Pugh felt was much closer than a 22-point defeat.
Southern shot just 16-of-55 from the field in the game for a dismal 29.1 percent, marking the third time in the past four halves of basketball that Southern has shot less than 30 percent from the field.
“That was our game. We just didn’t do anything we were supposed to do,” Pugh said. “For the second time in a row, we’re shooting the ball in the 20th percentile range. You’re not going to win games at this level shooting the basketball so poorly.
“We even had opportunities where we had the layup, we’re just not hitting them.”
The game was tight for much of the first half, and Southern had it down to a two-point ball game with 8:30 left before the break.
But Southern gave up a 13-6 run to South Alabama to end the half and go into the break trailing by nine, 24-15.
With struggling guard play plaguing Southern, senior forward Lechell Rush paced the scoring, dropping four points in the first half and finishing with 12 points total, trailing only South Alabama’s Meghan Dunn, who scored 16.
But the visiting Jags’ momentum spilled over into the second half, opening with a 15-5 run. South Alabama slowly pulled away from thereto improve to 4-0 on the season, boosted by Southern’s 20 turnovers.
“That’s unacceptable,” Pugh said of the turnovers. “A lot of our turnovers were just completely unforced, just poor decisions or not taking care of the basketball. If you would have told me the team was going to come out and play this poorly, I would have said, ‘No way.’”
But even more painful than the loss for Pugh was the lack of effort her team showed. Pugh criticized the players’ effort after the loss to Louisiana-Lafayette and feels its been a recurring problem throughout the majority of the early season.
She spoke her team for nearly a full hour after the game addressing the issues.
“I’m really disappointed in our kids,” Pugh said. “Right now, we’re not in trust mode. I just shared with them what my thoughts were. I didn’t do a whole lot of yelling and screaming like I’m sure a lot of people thought I would. I didn’t think they fought tonight at all. For two halves, I just didn’t think the effort was there. That’s unacceptable. There’s no one to blame but ourselves.”