An ankle injury to post player Raven White caused the Southern women’s basketball team to adjust its defensive game plan for Monday evening’s game against Alabama State.
That switch created problems for Alabama State.
Going away from man-to-man and employing a zone defense, Southern routed the SWAC-leading Hornets 64-47 at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
The win was Southern’s second over Alabama State (10-2, 10-2) this season. Southern (8-9, 8-3) remains in third place in the SWAC standings, and will face fourth-place Alabama A&M at noon on Wednesday.
“We worked on our zone because Raven turned her ankle in practice,” Southern coach Carlos Funchess said. “Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. We played a little bit of zone against them the last time (a 60-56 win on Jan. 25) but this time we pretty much played all zone.
“They struggled to figure out what defenses we were in.”
Funchess was worried how well Southern would rebound against the Hornets. Southern won that battle 39-33 behind a career-best effort from Amani McWain.
McWain pulled down 17 rebounds and also led the Jaguars in scoring with 15 points. She was joined in double figures by Kayla Watson with 11 points, and Genovea Johnson with 10 points.
Alabama State’s Ayana Emmanuel and Shmya Ward hurt Southern on the boards in the first meeting. On Monday, Emmanuel finished with six points and six rebounds, and Ward had seven points and four rebounds.
Jayla Crawford led the Hornets with 18 points.
The Jaguars made 8 of 16 shots in the first quarter as they moved out to a 17-6 lead. The Hornets started two players 6-foot or taller, but were unable to work the ball inside against the Jaguars, who were without 6-1 post player Raven White.
Alabama State scored only six points in the paint in the first half, and didn’t reach double figures until Tamirea Thomas’ layup with 2:50 to go left Southern with a 23-10 lead.
McWain’s 3-pointer helped the Jaguars take a 30-12 lead at halftime.
Alabama State got as close as 32-19 in the opening minutes of the third quarter. After a timeout, Southern put together an 8-1 run to regain momentum.
Southern’s largest lead was 60-37 with 3:25 left in the fourth quarter.