Eagles Fall in Championship Game of the FIU Sun & Fun Classic
“It was a great setting for our seniors,” said head coach Rusty Cram. “It was the first trophy they’ve won for our team. I’m extremely proud of them. They’ve earned it all season.”
Marist jumped out strong and took an early double digit lead over Georgia Southern in the first nine minutes of action. By the first media timeout, the Red Foxes had hit 7-9 from the floor, 2-3 from beyond the three point arc, and led 18-4.
A field goal by Melson at the 10:54 mark ended a five minute scoring drought by the Lady Eagles, but Georgia Southern could not hold on as Marist continued to widen its lead thereafter.
The Red Foxes held the Eagles to hitting 8 of 28 from the floor, five of six came from the free throw line, in the first half as Georgia Southern trailed 40-21 going into the break. Marist shot 55.2 percent from the field compared to Georgia Southern’s 28.6 percent.
In the opening stanza, Melson led the Eagles with eight points while Rachele Fitz tossed in 16 for the Red Foxes. Jamie Navarro (Naples, FL) held the rebounding edge for the Eagles, as she cleared away five to Fitz’s six in the opening half.
The Eagles turned a new leaf after the break and used an 18-9 run to start the final twenty minutes of the game. Georgia Southern cut the lead to ten and trailed 49-39 at the 10:50 mark. Marist connected on three of 13 attempts from the floor in those first nine minutes of the game, while Georgia Southern went 6 of 10.
But that would be the closest Georgia Southern would get as Marist continued to hold its lead for the remainder of the game.
“The first 8-9 minutes were the difference of the game,” said Cram. “They shot the lights out of us, hit almost 80 percent. We did a good job in the second half, but they came out hot and we were cold.”
Georgia Southern shot 30.8 percent from the field and was led by Melson in scoring, who chipped in 12 for the Eagles. J'Lisia Ogburn (Dublin, Ga.) won the rebounding battle for the Eagles, as she cleared away seven rebounds.
Georgia Southern got a handle on the nation’s eighth-leading scorer, Fitz, in the second half. The Eagles held her to only three points in the final twenty minutes; she finished the game with a team-high 19 points. Fitz and Maria Laterza led the team in rebounding, each clearing away 10.
“I’m very proud of our kids tonight,” Cram said. “They played hard for the whole tournament.”
Georgia Southern returns home for the first time since Dec. 1 on Jan. 3. The Eagles host UT Chattanooga in a conference show down on a Saturday double header. The Lady Eagles face off with UT at 3pm and the Georgia Southern men’s basketball team takes on Chattanooga at 5:30 pm on Dollar Night at Hanner Fieldhouse.
- Category: Women's Basketball
- Published on Tuesday, 30 December 2008 00:09