Free Throws Push Samford Past Georgia Southern
“The free throws were the difference in the game. We are simply not getting to the free throw line. Two games straight now, our opponents are getting to the line on us. We have to find a way to get to the line,” said head coach Rusty Cram.
Georgia Southern led in the first half twice and trailed by only seven points at the halftime break, 27-20, but the Lady Eagles could not hold on. The Lady Eagles jumped out to an impressive 7-0 lead after winning the tip and held the Bulldogs scoreless through six minutes of action to open the first half of play. Samford finally got on the board visiting the free throw line for the first time in the night, sparking a 13-0 run to give Samford its first lead of the game. A jumper by Jessica Geiger (Stone Mountain, Ga.) ended a four minute drought for Georgia Southern and cut the lead to four, 13-9. The Bulldogs pushed their lead back to seven before consecutive buckets over a three minute period by Brittney Nelson (Rochester, Mich.) and Geiger cut the lead to two points, 16-14, with just under seven minutes left in the opening stanza.
Following the third official timeout, Samford led 18-14. Jamie Navarro (Naples, Fl.) nailed a jumper to cut the deficit to two points and Geiger drilled a field goal to tie the game at 18-all with 2:43 until the halftime break. Ashley Melson (Newnan, Ga.) then took a trip to the charity stripe, connected on both and gave Georgia Southern its second and final lead of the game, 20-18. But within seconds, Emily London hit a three to put the Bulldogs back on top. Samford closed out the half with a 6-0 run, leading 27-20.
Leading scorers at the half, Geiger and London, each contributed seven points for their respective teams. Georgia Southern shot 32 percent from the floor to Samford’s 33 percent. But the Bulldogs managed to visit the free throw line seven times, connecting on six, to the Lady Eagles’ 2-of-2.
Samford opened the second half with a 6-2 run before Geiger hit a jumper at the buzzer, pushing the score to 33-24. The Bulldogs continued to widen their lead in the second half and took their biggest margin of the game, 45-32, at the 8:55 mark. From there the Lady Eagles hit three consecutive unanswered buckets, cutting the score to six points, 45-39. A field goal from London ended the run before Navarro nailed a three-pointer to cut the lead to five points, 47-42 with 4:56 remaining.
With 1:05 left, Melson stole the ball from Megan Wilderotter and scored on a wide open lay-up to put the lead at three points, 50-47. But that would be Georgia Southern’s last field goal, as the Bulldogs went to the free throw line four times in the final minute, shooting 5-of-7, to end the game.
“I’m very proud of our younger kids tonight,” said Cram. “They gave us new life and really stepped up.”
Georgia Southern closed out the game shooting 33 percent from the floor and cleared away 37 boards. The Lady Eagles shot 5-of-5 from the free throw line to Samford’s 16-of-26 (62 percent). The Bulldogs rounded out the win shooting 39 percent from the floor and scoring 11 points off 12 turnovers by the Eagles.
Geiger paced the Lady Eagles tonight, scoring a team-high 12 points and managed to pull down six defensive boards in the evening. Nelson cleared away a team-high nine rebounds.
“I’m also extremely proud of [Jessica] Geiger. She had one of her best games of the year tonight.”
London scored a team-high 21 points for the Bulldogs, as Hill cleared away a team-high seven boards.
Georgia Southern returns to action looking to rebound off two losses, Saturday, February 14 when they welcome Furman. Tip-off in Hanner Fieldhouse is slated for 3 p.m.
- Category: Women's Basketball
- Published on Monday, 09 February 2009 00:14