By: Christopher Denson | Contributing Writer
The men and women South Alabama Jaguars’ basketball programs will look to extend their respective win streaks on Thursday. Both teams possess a two-game winning streak and will both face opponents that have accumulated losing records. This gives men and women teams an opportunistic chance to seize easier victories and boost their overall and conference records.
The South Alabama women’s basketball team (12-11; 7-4 in Sun Belt conference play) will put their two-game winning streak on the line as they travel to face the Appalachian State Mountaineers (7-15; 4-7). The women are coming off an impressive 73-39 win against the University of Louisiana Monroe Warhawks in which center Antoinette Lewis led the team in scoring with 18 points to go along with 11 rebounds. During South Alabama’s last bout against Appalachian State, the Jaguars were led to victory behind the team’s scoring leader Shaforia Kines accounting for 24 points and 11 rebounds. This was mirrored by the team’s second-leading scorer in Savannah Jones with 20 points.
The women Jaguars will have to limit turnovers, as their opponent averages 6.6 steals per game. the Jaguars can eliminate a number of turnovers through smart possessions of the ball. The Jaguars currently possess a 12-11 record (a .522 winning record), giving them the 5th seed in the Sun Belt Conference. They have seven games remaining, three of which will be at home.
The men’s basketball team (14-11; 7-7 in Sun Belt Conference play) will host the University of Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (10-15; 5-9). The Ragin Cajuns are coming off a loss at home and are currently 10th in Sun Belt Conference. With only four home games left, the Jaguars will look to take control of home-court advantage and solidify their seeding in the Sun Belt Conference prior to the conference championship tournament.
The Jaguars are enjoying a winning streak against the Ragin’ Cajuns as well, having won the last two contests. The latest win was the largest victory margin of the streak of a 24 point-differential. Forward Josh Ajayi will look to have another impactful game similar to the last matchup between the two teams where he accounted for 13 points and 12 rebounds. He’ll look to continue his dominant performance following a 70-66 victory against the Troy Trojans where he recorded 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Rebounds will be critical for the men Jaguars as they grab roughly three less per contest than Louisiana. Their leading rebounder, however, Jalen Johnson grabs one fewer rebound than Ajayi per game. South Alabama will also look to continue being effective from the field as they’ve shot an impressive 46.7% in overall shots to date.
The women’s basketball team will travel to Appalachian State and begin their play at 11 a.m. The men’s basketball team will host the University of Louisiana Thursday at 7 p.m. central at the Mitchell Center.