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South Alabama women's basketball team plays first home game Wednesday vs. Nicholls State
South Alabama head coach Terry Fowler will lead his first Jaguar team in its first game at the Mitchell Center Wednesday night. The Jags take on Nicholls State at 7:05 p.m. CST. (Photo by Scott Donaldson, courtesy of South Alabama)

- After a pair of road losses to start the season, the women's basketball team will play its home-opener at the Mitchell Center Wednesday night against . Tipoff for the game is 7:05 p.m. CST.

The Jaguars are looking for their first win of the year and to get the homecourt era started off on a good note. Nicholls State, 1-1, brings a strong perimeter game to Mobile to face the Jags, who demonstrated some improvement in some areas from the Game 1 loss at Indiana State (53-40) to the Game 2 loss at Southern Miss (93-68), according to Fowler.

"From the first game to the second game the progression that I did see was we weren't as frustrated once adversity hit us,'' Fowler said. "We actually fought back to get back in the game (at Southern Miss). We weren't able to finish, but the fighting back was a positive sign. I didn't see the frustration level that I saw at Indiana State. I saw much more composure.''

Emphasis in this week's practice sessions has been on the defensive end of the floor. Fowler, whose previous teams have been defense-first teams, will have to play solid on that end of the floor against the Colonels if the Jags are going to be successful Wednesday night.

"Defensively we've got to get better,'' Fowler said. "That's kind of been our trademark where we've been before and it's disappointing that we gave up 93 points at Southern Miss. The emphasis of our recent practices has been on the defensive end of the floor. From an offensive standpoint, we really want to move the basketball a lot better. We've been dribbling too much.''

The focus of South Alabama's defensive efforts against Nicholls State will be on the Colonels' guard play.

"They've got tremendous guard play,'' Fowler said. "They've got two really, really good ones at the two and one and a tremendous shooter at the three spot. They are really good in transition. We've got to stop their transition game. We can't give them easy baskets. They run a match-up zone on the defensive end of the floor that has a tendency of creating problems (for opponents). ''

The Jaguars are led by Meghan Dunn (12.5 points, 2.0 rebounds per game) and Ronneka Robertson (11.0, 8.5). Help is also offered by Brenna Hall (8.5, 5.5) and Rachel Cumbo (8.0, 5.5).

Senior Jennifer Johnson, who was suspended for a violation of team rules prior to the Southern Miss game, has been had her suspension lifted as of Tuesday, but there is a chance, if she completes the requirements for reinstatement, she will return to the team for Wednesday's game.

Regardless of the lineup, Fowler said he is happy to finally coach his new team on its home floor.

"No doubt. We're real excited to finally get to play at the Mitchell Center,'' he said. "We talk about having great pride in playing at home. That's been an emphasis since we've gotten here and it was emphasized all this week. We're really looking forward to playing in front of our fans and seeing what we can do at home. We had a tough stretch, two tough road games, so we're excited to get back home.''

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