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Lady Eagles host South Alabama tonight

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So far, the 2006-07 season has been somewhat of a whirlwind for the Georgia Southern women’s basketball team.
    They’ve played seven games since opening their season on Nov. 12, a hectic schedule that averages out to a game every two days. Of those contests, two have been against top-notch teams — Georgia and New Mexico — and five have been on the road.
    “When you are as young as we are, especially in key positions, you have to have them grow up fast,” Lady Eagle coach Rusty Cram said. “This is pretty much a planed ordeal here. They are growing up fast right now. Things will start to settle down a little bit, and we’ll be able to get some rest and start playing one or two games a week.”
    The Lady Eagles (2-5) return home tonight to host South Alabama at 7 p.m. after snapping a five-losing streak on Saturday by defeating Western Illinois, 64-60, in the AmeriSuites Midtown Thanksgiving Tournament, hosted by New Mexico. The come-from-behind win was Georgia Southern’s first victory since the Lady Eagles topped Stetson, 62-46, in the season opener.
    “In the second half (against Western Illinois) we really picked up our intensity and played like we wanted to win,” said freshman guard Carolyn Whitney. “That was what we needed — intensity.”
    Whitney, one of two freshmen starters, helped lead GSU’s second-half charge Saturday, scoring 18 of her career-high 20 points in the final 20 minutes. She also went 10-for-10 from the free throw line and was the only Lady Eagle to be named to the all-tournament team.
    Cram commended Whitney’s effort and was glad to see his team win away from home.
    “The positive was we won a game on the road,” he said. “You can’t compete in this conference unless you can take care of business at home and win some on the road. We had to get one under our belt.”
    Cram also said his club benefited from playing New Mexico in front of 8, 505 fans in the first round of the tournament on Friday.
    South Alabama fell to 3-2 on the year after a 56-41 loss to Long Island University on Saturday. On Friday, the Lady Jags beat the College of Charleston, 63-51. The all-time series with South Alabama is tied at 3-3, and GSU fell to the Jaguars, 75-59, on the road last year.
    GSU’s intense early season schedule might have the team gasping for air, but they aren’t going to worry about that tonight.
    “We just have to block out how tired we are because that’s really not an option right now,” Whitney said. “We just have to be tough.”
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