Jackson, Miss. – Four weeks ago, the Jackson State women’s basketball team had only one victory in Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) play and five losses. One of those losses was a 76-67 loss on the road to Texas Southern.
After an 89-80 loss at home to Prairie View on Saturday evening, Jackson State (10-13, 6-6) finds itself in a familiar spot, sitting at the bottom of the conference standings. Currently sitting in seventh place with several ties in the standings, there is a bright yet ironic side to the Lady Tigers’ situation as the final stretch of the season takes form.
It was after JSU suffered its fifth conference loss of the season to Texas Southern before going on to capture five consecutive victories that included wins over Grambling State (77-74), Mississippi Valley (87-56), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (60-41), Alcorn State (82-61) and Southern (59-52).
If history repeats itself, JSU could use another string of wins to end the regular season. The only difference this time around is JSU will look to earn a critical win at home against Texas Southern Monday evening with hopes to propel them on another winning streak.
But as JSU head coach Tomekia Reed has preached throughout the season, the Lady Tigers will take each game one at a time, starting with Texas Southern.
“We don’t talk about winning streaks,” Reed said in the weekly coaches press conference last week.
“We’re not playing for attention; we’re playing one game at a time to get that victory.”
To remain in the SWAC race, it starts with JSU defeating a Texas Southern team that comes into Monday’s game after losing 72-55 to Grambling on the road Saturday evening.
The “Lady Tigers from Houston” will come in hungry and determined to bounce back from their own loss.
When the two teams met in the January matchup, JSU led after the first quarter but was outscored 18-9 in the second, a big momentum changer going into halftime. TSU outscored JSU 44-40 in the second half and shot 49 percent from the floor in the game, made 71.4 percent off 25-of-35 shooting from the free throw line and earned 21 points off turnovers.
Turnovers, which have been a lingering issue for JSU throughout the season, will need to be limited in Monday’s matchup if the Lady Tigers plan to secure a victory.
Texas Southern (10-12, 6-5) comes in at sixth in scoring offense, averaging 60.6 points per game but first in scoring defense (giving up 61.6 ppg). TSU has solid playmakers in its guards and forwards who start and come off the bench.
Marquia Turner, the second leading scorer for the Lady Tigers averaging 11.7 ppg, led the team in scoring in the January contest as she finished with 18 points, three rebounds and two steals.
Niya Mitchell, the team’s leading scorer (13.8 ppg) and the fourth leading scorer in the conference, finished close to her normal average against JSU. Mitchell also leads the league in rebounding (10.3 rebounds per game) and second field goal percentage (.492).
Collectively, Texas Southern is one of the better shooting teams in the conference as the Lady Tigers sit at third in field goal percentage (.396) and third in three-point field goal percentage (.304).
Against Texas Southern, Jackson State shot 36.8 percent off 25-of-68 shooting from the floor and 57.9 percent (11-of-19) from the charity stripe. Four Lady Tigers finished in double figures.
As a team, Jackson State – a team that shot just over 40 percent against in Prairie View on Saturday – comes in leading the conference in scoring offense (68.5 ppg) and field goal percentage (.430).
Defensively, however, JSU surrendered 89 points to Prairie View and comes in ranked sixth in scoring defense (67.6 ppg). The defense was a big part of the Lady Tigers winning streak, something they did not do well in Saturday’s contest according to Reed.
“We just didn’t play our defensive schemes like we were supposed to and you know we just kind of fell short defensively,” Reed said.
“So, we have to get back to where we supposed to be on track with playing our defense.”
Jackson State will get the opportunity to get back on track with Monday’s game and its final five games of the season that include matchups against Grambling at home on Saturday, road games at UAPB, Mississippi Valley and two home games to close out the season against Alabama A&M and Alabama State.
Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.