JACKSON, Miss. — Southern senior Lechell Rush played only four minutes Sunday at Grambling, leaving the disappointing, lopsided loss with a stat line of four points and four rebounds.
“I was a better asset on the bench than in the game,” Rush said. “I was just hurting my team.”
Southern was much better served with Rush on the floor Tuesday night.
The veteran forward had 19 points and 10 rebounds — both game highs — to lead a 72-59 victory over Jackson State, her big night coming on the heels of Southern’s first Southwestern Athletic Conference loss two days earlier.
Rush’s performance led a collective effort to regroup and move on.
“Our coach just always tells us to move forward,” Rush said. “Whatever happens, it’s behind us. We can still play for a championship. We’ve just got to keep moving forward.”
Adrian Sanders joined Rush in double figures with 13 points. Jasmine King and Yasmin Fuller had nine each.
A transfer from Charleston Southern, Rush called the double-double against JSU the best game of her college career.
“My coach told me I just needed to step up,” Rush said. “My teammates have been telling the same thing.”
Southern (4-11, 3-1) had started 2-0 in league play before arriving at Grambling and taking a 92-76 beating, the worst loss by the Jaguars to their north Louisiana rival in eight seasons. Grambling’s 92 points were the most Southern had surrendered all season.
When the Jaguars returned to practice Monday, coach Sandy Pugh spent virtually the entire session working on her team’s defense.
“We didn’t play any defense the other night,” Pugh said.
The Jaguars played plenty Tuesday, holding JSU (4-9, 1-3) to 35.5 percent shooting, forcing 27 turnovers and allowing them 11 offensive rebounds. JSU had only 50 points before scoring nine against Southern reserves in the final 50 seconds.
For the final eight minutes of the first half and the first four of the second, the Tigers managed only four points — all four on free throws.
Southern led by double digits for the final 19 minutes after trailing 18-14 in the first half.
By the time Kendra Coleman converted a four-point play for a 51-31 lead with 10:56 left, Southern had taken control of this game and put the last one far behind.