By: Michael Hanich | Sports Editor
Fans got to experience their first taste of the South Alabama Lady Jaguars’ basketball team for the 2019-2020 College Basketball season last Monday night. The Lady Jags hosted the Birmingham-Southern Panthers of the division III level in an exhibition game in the Mitchell Center. This was the first time Jag Nation got to see their women’s basketball team in action against another opponent since their second-round exit in the NIT Tournament to the Wyoming Cowgirls. From start to finish, the Lady Jags came out on all cylinders with efficiency and aggressiveness as they beat the Panthers 104-51.
South started off the game with a fast start with 30 points in the first quarter making 54.5% of their shots (12-of-22). They held the Panthers to 11 points in the first quarter, shooting a 33.3% field goal percentage. It was in the second half where the Lady Jaguars defense really suppressed the Panthers’ offense. They held the Panthers to 13 points on a 30.8% field goal percentage in the third quarter and 11 points on a 23.1% field-goal percentage in the fourth quarter.
The Jaguars were dominant in the paint and defended well from the three-point arc. They also displayed tight man coverage as the team accounted for 19 total steals from Birmingham-Southern. Senior guard Shaforia Kines and sophomore guard Mahogany Vaught each accounted for four steals against the Panthers. Senior forward Kennedi Carters led the Jaguars in total rebounds with nine as well as offensive rebounds with five.
The Lady Jaguars had six players that accounted for double-digit scoring. Junior center Antoinette Lewis led the team in points scored with 22-points while shooting 10-of-15. Redshirt junior guard in Savannah Jones accounted for 19 points and was highly efficient from behind the three-point with a 4-of-8 ratio. The Lady Jaguars were efficient all-throughout the court on the offensive side of the ball including 72-points in the paint and 16 second-chance points.
Despite this game being an exhibition against a smaller program, this game was highly crucial for the Lady Jaguars. After the game, Vaught mentioned that this game was important for the team to get game ready and conditioned enough to compete consistent throughout the long games and season.
Head coach Terry Fowler said the team accomplished what they were trying to do in the exhibition matchup. Defensive, coach was satisfied of the defensive presence displayed by the Lady Jaguars. He did mention that there is always room for improvement, especially before the season starts. One area is their perimeter shooting where they were 4-for-14 from the three-point arc.
The Lady Jags will start their regular season at home against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights of the Big Ten Conference on Tuesday, November 5th.