It’s one full month into the season, and the Southern women’s basketball team is still in search of its first win.
The Jaguars have had their fair share of bumps of in the road so far, dropping three games by 10 points or fewerwhile struggling to put points on the board. Southern (0-7) averages 48 points per game and has shot just 34 percent from the field this season, including 26 percent from 3-point range.
Southern coach Sandy Pugh also has critiqued her players on their attitude and hustle during games, and she addressed the team for more than an hour after a 63-41 loss to South Alabama on Nov. 20.
Assistant coach Carlos Funchess said some of those issues have been resolved, and he feels that the competitive nature is back with the team even after a heartbreaking 55-53 loss to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Dec. 2.
“When you’re losing, every little thing is magnified,” Funchess said. “The kids came out and worked hard. I thought the second game against SIU, we did make some strides. We were up 13, then got down nine points and fought back and had the opportunity to win the game coming down the stretch.”
Southern shot just 36 percent from the field in that game, shooting less than 30 percent in the second half. Funchess said the offensive issues have been the biggest point of emphasis as the Jaguars prepare to hit the road yet again, this time traveling to New York for a game at 6 p.m. Monday against Fordham.
“Offensively, we’ve got to score points,” Funchess said. “We’ve gone through stretches of 7-8 minutes and not score a bucket. We’ve had some chances to score some and missed some easy jump shots and that kind of thing. When you’re shooting the basketball, it’s all about confidence. We’ve got to do a better job offensively, and I think that’ll help things out a lot.”
Fordham (5-4) is riding a three-game losing streak, but Southern has put much of the focus on itself.
Along with confidence shooting, Funchess said the coaches have reiterated confidence in the players.
The Jaguars are in a bit of a transition period with a new offensive system in place this season and several new names on the roster, but Funchess is confident that with time, everything will jell together.
“It’s been tough. But at the same time, we look at some of the positives,” Funchess said. “It’s just trying to get better and try to show the kids what we need to do to win. Once you get the right mental attitude, you play to win and you don’t play to lose. As coaches, it’s our job to try to keep a positive mindset for the kids and try to make sure they’re going to do what its going to take to get better.”
The road doesn’t get much easier from there though. After Fordham, Southern travels to New Brunswick, N.J., for a Wednesday night clash with Rutgers University before returning home to play Southeastern Louisiana on Monday.