Lady Eagles Subdue Catamounts, 67-62
“I said before the game that the bench would be the difference,” said head coach Rusty Cram. “Outside the free throws, the bench was the difference. They did a wonderful job tonight.”
Georgia Southern took its first lead of the game off a layup from senior Ashley Melson (Newnan, Ga.) at the 15:41 mark and held led the rest of the game. Melson’s jumper sparked a 23-2 run by the Lady Eagles over the next six and a half minutes that included eight points from freshman guard Samantha Williams (Kingsport, Tenn.). Williams’ second trey of the night ended the run before the Lady Catamounts went on a 6-0 run of their own to draw the score to 25-13 with just over eight minutes left in the opening half.
Western Carolina cut the lead to within single digits, 30-22, off an 8-3 run just under three minutes of play. But jumpers from Melson and Krista Tate (Atlanta, Ga.) allowed Georgia Southern to lead 34-28 at the halftime break.
Georgia Southern outshot Western Carolina 41 percent to 31 percent in the opening stanza and led by as many as 18 points. Melson paced the Lady Eagles in the first half with seven points, while Jessica Geiger (Stone Mountain, Ga.) pulled down five defensive boards. Lauren Powell led the Catamounts in the opening half with seven points; Heather Swayne pulled down five boards.
The Lady Eagles continued to widen their lead in the second half as J'Lisia Ogburn (Dublin, Ga.) came alive and poured in 10 points in the first six minutes of action. Georgia Southern led, 48-33, at the 14:10 mark off Ogburn’s fourth field goal. But that would be the biggest lead of the second half by the Lady Eagles as Western Carolina slowly chipped away at their deficit. Over the next eight minutes, the Catamounts held Georgia Southern to seven points off a 19-7 run that cut the score to 55-54 with 4:44 remaining.
With 3:31 left, the Catamounts had the chance to take the lead when Kristen Feemster was fouled and took a trip to the charity stripe, shooting two. Feemster missed both free throws and Georgia Southern answered with a layup from Melson to push their lead back to three, 57-54. With the lead cut back to one again off a Brooke Johnson jumper, the Lady Eagles called again as Jamie Navarro (Naples, Fl.) nailed a three to give Georgia Southern a four point lead, 60-56, with two minutes remaining.
Jessica Jackson hit a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left as Western Carolina trailed by three. But the Lady Eagles went 4-of-4 from the free throw line to close out the game 22-of-27 from the charity stripe and secure the win.
Georgia Southern shot 43 percent from the field to Western Carolina’s 38 percent. The Lady Eagles scored 16 points off 17 turnovers by the Catamounts and had four players score in doubles figures. Melson led the team with 12 points, followed by Navarro (11), Ogburn (10) and Williams (10). Geiger led the team in rebounding, securing nine boards (eight defensive).
The Lady Eagles closed out this three-game home streak with the win and hit the road next for two conference match-ups; Georgia Southern travels to Chattanooga, Saturday (Feb. 7) and Samford (Feb. 9). Tip-off against the Lady Mocs on Saturday is slated for 3 p.m.
- Category: Women's Basketball
- Published on Monday, 02 February 2009 00:03