Charleston Upsets Lady Eagles in SoCon Tourney
The Cougars (14-15, 9-9 SoCon) advance to the Southern Conference semifinals and will play top-seeded Chattanooga, Sunday, in the tournament semifinals.
Georgia Southern’s season comes to a close with a 17-13 overall record (13-5 SoCon), which is its best record since the 2002-2003 season when the Lady Eagles went 20-10.
Senior Shawnda Atwood (Pensacola, Fla.) and sophomore Carolyn Whitney (Duluth, Ga.) both scored a team-high 11 points. Senior Tiffany Brown (Waxhaw, N.C.) tallied 10 points and three steals.
Charleston also had three in double-figures; Tonia Gerty led all scorers with 16 points, and was followed by Jill Furstenburg and Ashley Scott with 12 points, apiece.
As a team, Georgia Southern tallied 15 steals, its second-best outing in that category on the season, capitalizing on Charleston’s 27 turnovers good for 21 points.
“Hats off to Charleston,” said head coach Rusty Cram. “They came prepared and just about beat us in every facet of the game. We just didn’t show up to play. The first eight minutes of the ball game we were executing well, but after that, we got outrebounded, just about every stat.”
The Lady Eagles couldn’t make up for a combination of a 29-percent showing from the field and a 46-28 loss in the rebounds category. Meanwhile, Charleston’s 47.5 percent shooting, partly realized by its reserves outscoring the Lady Eagles 27-12 proved to be too much in the end.
“We go to the bench because some one was breathing hard,” said Cram. “During our winning streak all year our strength was our bench. Today, those numbers let us down. We didn’t get anything off our bench today.”
Georgia Southern started out strong as the team, producing an 8-5 lead at the 15:40 mark. Atwood was responsible for seven of GSU’s initial points, including a three-pointer to start the game’s scoring.
Both teams went cold during the next four minutes, but Whitney was able to extend the GSU lead to six points on a triple and the Lady Eagles held an 11-5 advantage at the 11:18 mark.
After the Cougars closed the lead to just three points on a triple by Brooke Kotcella, Atwood hit a pair of buckets to give the Lady Eagles their largest lead of the game, 15-8 with 8:48 remaining in the first half.
Charleston was able to tie up the score 15-all after using a 7-0 run over the next four minutes, but Georgia Southern didn’t give up the lead for the remainder of the half and the Lady Eagles went into the break with a 23-22 lead.
Atwood scored all of her 11 points in the first stanza on 5-of-8 field-goal shooting. Tonia Gerty led the Cougars with seven points at the break. Both teams struggled from the field with GSU making 9-of-23 (.391) from the field, while CofC hit 8-of-21 (.381) field goal attempts.
In second half play, Charleston used an 11-2 run coming out of the locker room to take a 33-25 advantage at the 15:36 mark. Its first lead of the game, 26-25, came at the 18:19 mark on a fast break layup by Sarah Moye.
Charleston led by 10 points, 37-27, five minutes into the second half, but the Lady Eagles struggled to overcome its 23 percent second-half shooting and the Cougars held on to the lead for the remainder of the contest.
Down by 13 with two minutes remaining, Georgia Southern showed its resilience by going on an 8-1 run, closing the gap to just six points with 1:11 remaining. But the late rally came up short as the Cougars spent the remainder of the game on the charity stripe, making nine of 10 free-throws down the stretch.
This was the two teams’ first meeting in the Southern Conference tournament.
Ashley Melson matched a career-high four steals
- Category: Women's Basketball
- Published on Saturday, 08 March 2008 00:28