SU women look to get on track

Advocate staff photo by LIBBY ISENHOWERSouthern women's basketball coach Sandy Pugh. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by LIBBY ISENHOWERSouthern women's basketball coach Sandy Pugh.

It was hard for Southern women’s basketball coach Sandy Pugh to figure the most disappointing aspect of Sunday’s 92-76 loss at Grambling.

Was it that the Jaguars allowed Grambling, a team that has shot from its heels all season, to knock down 10 3-pointers? Was it that they failed to take care of ordinary business like beating the Tigers for 50-50 rebounds?

Was it a lack of leadership?

“It was a tough night for us on a number of levels,” Pugh said.

Pugh hopes Southern can shake off its fifth straight loss at Grambling — and its 10th loss there in 11 years — before facing Jackson State on Tuesday to finish a two-game road swing. Tip-off at the Lee E. Williams Center is 5:30 p.m.

Once again entering a rival’s home gym, Pugh said the Jaguars will have to be ready for JSU’s best effort.

But she said that’s the norm for a Southern program that has traditionally challenged for Southwestern Athletic Conference titles.

“This is Southern,” Pugh said. “Everybody brings their ‘A’ game for us.”

JSU (4-8, 1-2) enters Tuesday on the heels of a 59-56 barn-burner versus rival Alcorn State that netted the Tigers their first conference win.

Ayanna Hardy-Fuller had 19 points and eight rebounds to lead JSU. A missed 3-pointer at the buzzer kept Alcorn from forcing overtime.

Southern (3-11, 2-1) will look for sophomore guard Kendra Coleman to keep the hot hand.

Coleman has scored 20 points in two of the first three SWAC games and has led Southern in scoring in all three. She ranks just ninth in the league with a scoring average of 10.9 points, but is third-best with an average of 16.3 in league action.

Pugh called Coleman’s play Sunday night — 6-of-9 from the field, 3-of-5 from 3-point range — one of the bright spots for her team.

But the Jaguars gave up more points to Grambling than they had to any other opponent this season.

In losing by 16 points, Southern suffered its most lopsided setback to the Tigers since 2005, when Grambling won 71-51.

“We can’t play D level basketball on the road if we expect to win,” Pugh said. “That’s what I thought we did last night.”

Two nights after knocking off preseason SWAC favorite Prairie View, Southern fell into a three-way tie for second place in the league standings.

“We’ve just got to get back to the basics of what we do down here and go forward,” Pugh said. “It doesn’t stop.”