Trojan players ready for in-state showdown with South Alabama

Published 8:28 pm Friday, February 22, 2019

After being swept by in-state rival South Alabama in early February, the Trojans hope to return the favor when the Jaguars come to Trojan Arena this afternoon for a double-header.

The Troy women (18-6, 9-4) were sitting in first place when they fell to the Lady Jaguars on February 2. With just a game separating the two teams, Kate Rodgers and the Trojans hope to put a little more distance between themselves and the Jaguars.

“Motivation is through the roof,” Rodgers said. “We took a loss at their place, but it’s revenge time now.”

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The Trojans were outshot in their previous meeting 44 percent to 39 percent. The Trojans held a five-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but a late Jaguar surge led to a three-point win.

“That is motivation because we know that we are better,” Rodgers said. “We know that scoring is what we do and rebounding is what we do. We just have to get back to that.”

The Trojan men fell to the Jaguars 81-75 in their last meeting. The loss for the Trojans has made up a recent run that has seen them lose six of their last seven games. Alex Hicks and the Trojans hope to return the favor to the Jaguars inside Trojan Arena.

“There is some excitement heading into the rivalry,” Hicks said. “We lost the first game, so we have to win this home game.”

With five regular season games remaining, the Trojans are on the outside looking in when it comes to securing a playoff spot. The Trojans find themselves just a game behind Little Rock for the 10th and final playoff spot.

“We just have to come together and play as a team,” Hicks said. “We have to keep building chemistry like we have been doing.”

The Trojans have been forced to reinvent themselves since they lost leading scorer Jordon Varnado, who has been out since early February with concussion symptoms. Hicks and others have been asked to pick up the slack in his absence.

“They have been coming to me more down in the post,” Hicks said. “I just have to convert.”

It’s been a week since the Troy men and women have seen any game action. The Troy women are coming off a 100-78 win over Georgia Southern, while the men are coming off a 76-51 loss to the Eagles.

The Trojans have been able to rest up and get back to practicing in advance of today’s pivotal conference showdown.

“I think it has given us more time to prepare for South,” Rodgers said. “I like it that way; we have four or five days to go hard and practice and then calm it down so we can play on Saturday.”

The Troy women will take on the Lady Jaguars beginning at 2 p.m. The men’s game will start at approximately 4:15 p.m.

“We just have to come out with energy and togetherness,” Hicks said.