Chattanooga Halts Lady Eagles at Hanner
STATESBORO, Ga. - Behind Shanara Hollinquest’s career-high 31 points, a sharpshooting Chattanooga claimed sole ownership of its ninth-straight Southern Conference regular season title after defeating host Georgia Southern, Monday (Feb. 25) by a 79-60 decision at Hanner Fieldhouse.
The Lady Eagles fall to 16-11 overall and 12-4 in SoCon play, dropping its first contest at home this season after a perfect 10-0 start.
Chattanooga secured the series win over the Lady Eagles and improves to 25-3 overall and remains unbeaten in SoCon action, 17-0.
The Lady Eagles were led in points by junior guard Ashley Melson (Newnan, Ga.) and sophomore forward Jessica Geiger (Stone Mountain, Ga.) with 12 points, apiece. Melson hit 6-of-13 from the field and pulled down a team-high tying six rebounds on the day, while Geiger went 4-of-6 from the field, including a three-pointer. Sophomore forward J'Lisia Ogburn (Dublin, Ga.) followed with 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field.
Chattanooga was paced by Hollinquest’s career-high night, making 12-of-19 from the field and hitting 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. She was followed by Alex Anderson with 14 points, and Laura Hall with 12, while Erin Ogan pulled down a game-high nine rebounds on the night.
Georgia Southern and Chattanooga battled back and forth during the first eight minutes of the first half, which saw three ties. During that span, the Lady Eagles kept it close but couldn’t move past deadlock, while Chattanooga’s largest lead, up to the 12:15 mark, was five points, 16-11.
The Lady Mocs slowly pulled away over the next five minutes and reached a double-digit lead, 24-13 at the 8:16 mark. A triple by Tiffany Brown (Waxhaw, N.C.) closed the gap to just eight points, but a pair of made free-throws by Hollinquest gave UTC a double-digit lead that it would keep the remainder of the game.
Hollinquest scored just over half of the team’s first-half points, 21, which helped give the visitors a 15 point lead going into the break, 40-25.
The Lady Eagles improved their field goal shooting in the second half from 33.3 percent (10-of-30) to 44.8 percent (13-of-29). But Chattanooga didn’t let up, hitting 65.2 percent (15-of-23) from the field as part of its 54.5 percent shooting total effort for the game.
Georgia Southern couldn’t close the gap to less than 11 points for the remainder of the contest while Chattanooga surged its largest lead to 29 points with 3:50 remaining in the game.
“Chattanooga’s just well-coached,” said Rusty Cram. “They’re just a good, solid basketball team... They’re very good at all positions and they were clicking on all cylinders. They’re post game inside the first half just killed us and we didn’t have an answer for it.”
Chattanooga outscored the Lady Eagles 30-26 in points in the paint, while netting 17 points off of GSU’s 12 turnovers. Georgia Southern still won the rebounds margin, 36-33, giving them a 17-5 advantage in second-chance points.
“Melson’s giving us great, quality minutes,” said Cram. “J’Lisia’s playing pretty good basketball. But we’ve just got to find more people, especially upperclassmen, this time of year that have to lead. You can’t rely on freshmen and sophomores this time of year to carry you through a conference run and going into a tournament. And that’s what we’ve got to keep pushing. We’ve got to get one or two of those seniors to start stepping up.”
Georgia Southern sits in third place, just ahead of Davidson, which holds an 11-5 record in the league. Davidson defeated the Lady Eagles on their court earlier this season, so Georgia Southern will have a chance at evening up the season series, Thursday (Feb. 28) at Hanner Fieldhouse. Tip-off with the Wildcats is slated for 7 p.m.
Tickets are still on sale for the Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament at the North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, S.C. The tournament begins on Thursday, Mar. 6 and concludes on Monday, Mar. 10. Secure your seats through the GSU ticket office by calling 1-800-GSU-WINS or by clicking the “Buy Your Tickets Here” link on the www.GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com main page.
- Category: Women's Basketball
- Published on Monday, 25 February 2008 00:18