By: Gracie King | Contributing Writer
The South Alabama Women’s Basketball team opened the season at home Tuesday, facing a power five opponent in the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Shortly after tip-off, the Jags came off strong at the beginning of the first quarter. Rutgers’ offense, however, surpassed the Jaguar defense in the bulk of the first quarter. The Jags began to gain momentum towards the latter end of the first quarter, scoring a few free throws to mend the gap in the score. Jaguar offense was unable to maintain consistency for most of the first quarter due to technical errors. Rutgers rounded out the first quarter 19-6.
South’s team confidence and court awareness improved at the beginning of the second quarter. The Jaguars maintained ball possession better and was more efficient on the defensive side of the ball. The Jags were able to establish themselves a bit better on the scoreboard, but still a large gap remained as Rutgers ended the second quarter with a score of 39-21.
Jags gain control in the beginning of the second half, stealing the ball and immediately scoring a quick field goal. There were moments of clarity for the Jags in the form of fast breaks leading to points scored. This led to a smaller gap in the score as the Jags were able to hold their own with more efficient scoring opportunities. Though the Jags were able to put twenty points on the board and strengthened their defense, there was still a disconnect as Rutgers controlled the tone of the game. Rutgers finished out the third quarter with a score of 52-41.
It quickly became clear that Rutgers University is a stout fourth quarter team, scoring 25 points. This was a devastating gap compared to the Jag’s 15 points in the fourth quarter. Though the Jags continued to fight hard until the sound of the buzzer, Rutgers was simply too much of a consistent powerhouse from start to finish. By the beginning of the last quarter, it was simply too large to surpass. Rutgers ultimately finished the game with a 77-56 victory over the Jaguars
The Jaguars accounted for a field goal percentage of 27.4% and a field goal percentage of 50%. This is one area of their performance the Jaguars will get better once they opponents that are not in a power five conference.
South Alabama Jaguars (0-1) will travel on Friday to face the UAB Blazers (0-0) in Birmingham for a tournament setting.