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The Southern women’s basketball team was picked to repeat as Southwestern Athletic Conference champion in the conference’s preseason poll released Wednesday.
The SWAC’s coaches and sports information directors picked the Jaguars men, who are also defending league champions, to finish second behind Alabama State.
Southern forward Jasmine Jefferson was named to the women’s first team and she was the only member of either Jaguars team to be named to either the first or second teams.
“Winning the regular-season title is one of our big goals each and every year,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said during the SWAC’s preseason coaches teleconference. “We’re returning 10 players and six of them are seniors, so this is their last go-round and they definitely want to prove to the legends around here, the young ladies who came before them that they are worthy of carrying on the tradition of Southern women’s basketball.”
The Southern women finished 20-8 and 16-2 in the SWAC, but won just one game in the conference tournament before being eliminated by Prairie View 72-43 in the semifinals.
Pugh said guard Kendra Coleman, the Jaguars leading scorer last season, underwent knee surgery during the offseason to fix torn meniscus that plagued her during last season. Coleman has been full go since the start of preseason practice last week, Pugh said.
Both Southern teams are unsure if their goal of reaching the NCAA Tournament is even possible because of a ban on post-season play due to inadequate reporting of student-athletes’ Academic Progress rates. It’s unclear when the NCAA might lift the ban, which would have kept both teams out of the NCAA tournament last season even if they had won the SWAC tournament.
The men finished 19-13 and 15-3 after a 64-46 loss to Prairie View in their first game in the SWAC tournament.
Southern returns just six players from last year’s team and the top returning big men — Calvin Godfrey and Damien Goodwin — transferred because of the NCAA ban.
The returning group is guard-heavy, led by Trelun Banks, the SWAC Freshman of the Year last season, Tre Lynch and Christopher Hyder.
“I’m looking forward to the upcoming season,” Coach Roman Banks said. “I don’t know if we have any marquee names returning, but I like the effort that these guys have put forth on the court so far.”
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -– Southern offensive lineman Zach Brown was carted off the field during the game against Alabama A&M on Saturday because of what appeared to be a neck injury.
Brown was lying on the ground face down at the end of a play midway through the third quarter. Medical staff attended to him for more than 10 minutes and Brown was able to move his arms.
He was strapped on his back to a board, lifted on to a stretcher and he gave a thumbs-up sign with his left hand. Brown was examined further inside an ambulance just outside the stadium and a few minutes later the ambulance took Brown to an area hospital.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Cornerback Kevin King and wide receiver Mike Jones are expected to return to action for Southern in its game against Alabama A&M at 1 p.m. Saturday in Louis Crews Stadium.
King missed the last four games while awaiting academic certification and Jones missed the last three games because of an ankle injury.
Quarterback Deonte Shorts (groin) did not travel with the team and will miss his fourth consecutive game.
The Jaguars (3-3 and 2-1 in Southwestern Athletic Conference play) are seeking consecutive victories for the first time this season. They defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 51-36 in their Homecoming game last week. Southern has an open date next week.
The Bulldogs are 2-4 and 1-2.
Southern expects to welcome back a few key players for its Homecoming game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in A.W. Mumford Stadium.
Three defensive backs — Dionte McDuffy, D’Andre Woodland and Jaleel Richardson — went through pregame warm-ups after being cleared academically. McDuffy and Woodland played in the first two games before being withheld from the last three. Richardson will be making his season debut.
Running back Jamarcus Jarvis is expected to play after a three-game absence due to an ankle injury. Malcom Crockett, who missed the last two games because of an ankle injury, tested his ankle in pre-game warm-ups and his availability will be a game-time decision.
For in-game updates, follow Les East (@EastAdvocate) on Twitter.
LORMAN, Miss. — Southern quarterback Deonte Shorts did not travel with the team to its game against Alcorn State in Spinks-Casem Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Shorts, a redshirt freshman from Southern Lab who started the first three games of the season, dressed but did not play last week at Prairie View because of an elbow injury.
He returned to practice Monday and coach Dawson Odums said he expected Shorts to play against Alcorn. But Shorts missed practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a previously undisclosed hernia.
It’s likely Shorts’ injury will require surgery though it’s unclear when that might take place.
True freshman Austin Howard, who relieved Shorts in the first three games, was scheduled to make his second consecutive start Saturday. True freshman Jarrad Hayes is the backup.
Southern (2-2) and Alcorn (3-1) are both 1-0 in Southwestern Athletic Conference play. Kickoff was set for 4 p.m.