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Lady Eagles rally against CFU

ORLANDO, Fla. — Jessica Geiger’s right side jumper and Ashley Rivens’ free throw with seconds remaining sealed a come-from-behind victory for the Georgia Southern women’s basketball team Friday night, defeating Central Florida 75-71 at UCF Arena. Georgia Southern improves to 4-5 with the non-conference win, while the Golden Knights fall to 1-7. Juniors Shawnda Atwood and Tiffany Brown led the team with 14 points each, as five Lady Eagles scored in double digits.  Ashley Rivens scored 11 points while Chequilla Jessie and Ashley Melson netted 10 points apiece. A homecoming of sorts for Jessie, the Sanford, Fla., native, saw her add a team-high seven rebounds. “Chequilla Jessie was a force in the paint for us, giving us that stable lift for us,” said 11th-year head coach Rusty Cram. Golden Knights’ Francine Houston led all scorers with 23 points while Keunta Miles scored 17 on the night. The Golden Knights controlled the first half with a hot hand, shooting 14 of 34 from the field (.438), including 5 of 9 from downtown (.556). Georgia Southern struggled from the field, going 9-for-35 (.257) in the first stanza.  But the Golden Knights sent GSU to the foul line 13 times, and 11 successful foul shots — five from Atwood — helped keep Georgia Southern in the game, trailing by only four going into halftime (36-32). The Lady Eagles turned the momentum around in the second half.  GSU improved its shooting, going 14-of-35 (.400) from the field and forcing 12 turnovers. “When we start playing intense, then our numbers will pick up, our scoring will pick up, forcing turnovers will pickup, rebounding, everything,” explained Cram.  “We quit worrying about what we’re supposed to do, and we just do it.” Brown made nine of her 14 points in the second half, including a key 3-pointer with 9:50 remaining that tied the match at 50. Francine Houston returned on the next possession and buried her fifth trey of the evening to regain the lead. The momentum swung back in favor of the Lady Eagles when Jessica Geiger and Shawnda Atwood hit consecutive buckets in the paint for a 56-55 GSU lead. The Lady Eagles’ next game comes at home against Jacksonville at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13 — the start of a five-game homestand.

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