Southern heads home to face SLU

It’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish.

That’s been the mindset for the Southern women’s basketball team recently after an 0-9 start. With only two games left before the start of Southwestern Athletic Conference play, the Jaguars are still in search of their first win of the season.

But even with the rough start, Southern coach Sandy Pugh said the Jaguars are far from panicking. The team is coming off a two-game road trip to Fordham and Rutgers that handed them two more losses, but created a new mentality going forward as Southern hosts Southeastern Louisiana at 6 p.m. Monday.

“Each game is about growth,” Pugh said. “You can’t worry about what we should have done. You can only take care of what you can do going forward. A new season has started. The semester is over. The new season began with the New York trip. In their minds, they’re only 0-2. We’re going forward from here and try to get this win (Monday).”

While the Jaguars are hoping for their first victory, the visiting Lady Lions (6-2) enter Monday’s game having won six of their last seven, including three in a row.

Even though the wins didn’t come for Southern in New York, Pugh said the team turned a corner last week in terms of attitude — something that plagued the Jaguars earlier.

“I thought this past week was a very important week for us in terms of just kind of getting away from it all, team-bonding and we’re finally done with finals,” Pugh said. “We definitely went to New York with a different frame of mind, and I think we came out of those two games a better team because of it.”

Aside from suffering two losses to Fordham and Rutgers during the weekend, Southern took a “down day” Tuesday to tour the city, take in the sights and develop a better team rapport before heading home.

“The kids had an opportunity to go catch the subway and go into Brooklyn and visit where Lechell Rush and Essence (Hopkins) were born and raised,” Pugh said. “When we got back, you could see the energy within them.”

The good news, Pugh said, is that chemistry translated to the court as well.

Southern is fighting a number of injuries, and was dealt two double-digit losses at Fordham and Rutgers. More importantly, Pugh said, the attitude was never compromised.

She expects the same Monday night.

“I thought so many of our previous games, kids were playing outside of their capacity in some respects,” Pugh said. “I thought they went into (the Rutgers) game with the mindset we needed. We’re definitely a banged-up little unit. Through it all, they’re fighting and they’re fighting together. I think we’re in a good place. We’re looking forward to the game (Monday). I think that the fans are going to see, definitely a more disciplined and better team than what they saw the first few outings.”