The Texas State women’s basketball team will travel to Mobile, Ala. Wednesday to play the South Alabama Jaguars, two weeks removed from a 63-61 Bobcat victory at home in their first matchup.
South Alabama scored 38 points in the second half, cutting Texas State’s 12-point lead to 2 points with 11 seconds remaining. Jennifer Johnson, South Alabama forward, missed a mid-range shot as time expired.
The Jaguars are 1-12 on the road, tied for the worst away record in the Sun Belt Conference. South Alabama is 6-6 at home this season, allowing 63.8 points compared to 79.8 on the road.
“We need to understand we are playing them on their home court,” said Coach Zenarae Antoine. “I think things change when you play teams on their home court. Their ability to score changes.”
South Alabama’s 3-point percentage leads the Sun Belt, ranking 24th in Division I. South Alabama converted on four 3-pointers in the loss against Texas State, almost three below the team’s season-average of 6.69.
“We did well defensively behind the arc,” Antoine said. “We could’ve done a much better job in the paint, and that’s where they have gotten better. We need to continue doing a good job guarding the arc, especially since they have a lot of good shooters.”
The Jaguars have lost seven consecutive games, putting them ninth in the Sun Belt. South Alabama has to win its final two matchups and Louisiana-Monroe must lose each remaining game for the Jaguars to clinch a playoff berth in the conference tournament.
“They still have a chance to go to the tournament,” Antoine said. “Ultimately they are fighting for that. I expect their best effort at home. Coach (Terry) Fowler is a winner, and he’s trying to put his stamp on the program. They are going to fight.”
Three of South Alabama’s last four losses have been by single digits, including a loss in overtime against Louisiana.
“They’ve played some really tight contests at times,” Antoine said. “They lost their starting point guard to a knee injury, and when that happened they hit a rut, but they found a way to score and compete for games.”
Ronneka Robertson, South Alabama forward, tallied 28 points and 17 rebounds in her previous game. Robertson is averaging 9.3 points and 8.4 rebounds this season, both improvements from last year.
“Ronneka (Robertson) has really put up a lot of points,” Antoine said. “She has done a great job scoring, anchoring them in the post, which helps them be more balanced. So teams aren’t completely selling out to the arc. Our post defenders will need to step up and really limit her.”
Jasmine Baugus, senior forward, scored a season-high 12 points against Georgia State Saturday in her final home game with Texas State. Baugus played single-digit minutes in five of her last six games prior to playing the Panthers. Baugus started all 30 games in her junior season.
“It took me a long time to accept it,” Baugus said. “Once I finally accepted my role, I just played to my best ability instead of pouting to help the team. I’ve been here for four years, and these are my last games. I have to give it all on the floor, because I’m not going to get these games back.”
Texas State clinched a spot in the postseason tournament Saturday against the Panthers. The Bobcats can be seeded between second and fourth depending on the results of their final two games. The Sun Belt tournament will be held March 12-16 in New Orleans.
“Just like South Alabama, these young women are still motivated,” Antoine said. “The way you finish is why you deserve an opportunity to make your case. If we falter at all, that might put our chances in jeopardy. Regardless of what happens, you still want to make a case for any postseason play that’s still out there for us.”