EARLY STRUGGLES: A poor first half was too much for the Troy Trojans to overcome in 75-71 loss to Jaguars
Published 3:00 am Wednesday, January 27, 2016
The Trojans’ first half struggles proved to be too much on Tuesday as they lost their third consecutive game 75-71 to in-state rival South Alabama.
Troy (10-8) dropped to 5-4 in the SunBelt Conference after a strong start.
“We are certainly facing a bad stint in our season,” said Trojans head coach Chandra Rigby. “We have lost three in a row and that is not like us. We are missing a lot of shots that we normally make. As a coaching staff, we have to keep instilling confidence and keep the team together.”
The Trojans managed to shoot just 31 percent from the field and had trouble making shots from the inside. At one point late in the contest, the Jaguars were nearly doubling Troy in points in the paint at 38-20.
“It’s more about us being confident,” said Trojan Caitlyn Mendoza. “We need to be confident in ourselves. We get discouraged when we miss one layup and we worry about picking each other up. That is one thing we need to work on is building up our confidence.”
Ashley Beverly Kelley put the Trojans up 2-0 to start the game before the Jaguars scored eight unanswered points. The Trojans shot just 20 percent in the opening quarter and turned the ball over 10 times.
The Trojans outscored South Alabama 17-10 in the second period, shooting 31 percent. Jayla Chills’ three-pointer gave Troy a brief lead at 28-26, but the Jaguars bounced back and the teams entered the half tied at 28.
“That might be one of lowest points of the season,” Rigby said of the disappointing first half. “Defensively they did a really good job. They have solid players and have a really good coach. I didn’t notice them doing enough to us to force us missing that many shots. We have to get back in the gym and instill confidence through repetition.”
The Trojans and Jaguars continued to battle back and forth in the third quarter. South Alabama turnovers and timely shooting led way to a 10-0 run for the Trojans in a little over a minute. That fast-paced rally helped the Trojans outscore the Jaguars by one point in the third and sent them into the fourth with 51-50 lead.
Troy was able to get to within two points and after Amanda Mendoza drew a charging call had an opportunity to tie things up with just 43 seconds remaining. Caitlyn Ramirez had a clean look under the basket but the ball rimmed out and the Jaguars walked away with the win after converting on their free throws.
“There is going to be growth during this,” Rigby said. “It’s very painful but there will be growth. We need to pick it up and earn a spot in the conference tournament and use the lessons that we have learned.”
The Trojans will try and snap their three game skid when they welcome Appalachian State at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.