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Lady Eagles cruise

Navarro leads GSU to first win of season

Lady Eagles cruise

Lady Eagles cruise

Mercer's Sharnea Boykin, left, gets t...


Georgia Southern keeps asking more from Jamie Navarro, and she keeps delivering.

The senior point guard set a career high with 21 points as the Lady Eagles rolled to a 71-52 win Tuesday over Mercer in the home opener at Hanner Fieldhouse.

"Well, I couldn’t shoot [in Sunday’s season opener] against Georgia," said Navarro, "so finally they started to fall. I think for the first time in a while we’ve had a good start to our season. We all feel good with the way we’re playing."

The Eagles (1-1) got off to a quick start, taking a 21-10 lead with 8:01 remaining in the first half on a jumper by Candice Ivy, but struggled offensively as Mercer (0-2) clawed back in.

Kourtney Carter stopped the Lady Bears’ skid with a bucket, and a 3-pointer by Rebecca Clanton cut it to 21-15.

GSU freshman Aishya Wofford sank her first bucket, but the Bears answered with a 3 and a layup by Briana Williams (18 points).

With 3:35 remaining in the half, Williams hit a jumper to tie the game at 25-25.

"We got to playing the perimeter too much, side-to-side with the guards," said GSU coach Rusty Cram. "We weren’t getting the ball inside. Whether we shot it, got a look and made the bucket or not, we weren’t getting it inside. They made some adjustments and we couldn’t penetrate."

That was when Navarro took over.

On consecutive possessions, she drew a foul driving the paint and hit four-straight free throws. Navarro was a perfect 6 for 6 on the night from the charity stripe.

The Eagles closed out the half with a pair of free throws by Ivy (10 points, 6 for 6 from the line) and a 3 by freshman guard Jordi Cook. GSU led 34-25 at the break, and that was as close as it would get.

Navarro’s foul shots sparked a 27-2 run that lasted until 14:02 remained in the game.

"After halftime we made some adjustments," said Cram. "We got some movement and people were coming across the lane. We started getting the ball in, they had to collapse, then we started getting a few from the perimeter."

Junior guard Samantha Williams joined Navarro and Ivy in double digits with 10 points, and the Eagles added 16 points off the bench.

Guard Meredyth Frye led all rebounders in the game with 12, and finished with six points.

All of Navarro’s shots came from behind the 3-point line, where she hit 5 of 9. Five different Eagles — Navarro (5), Williams (2), MiMi DuBose (2), Frye and Cook hit from long distance, where the Eagles finished 11 for 25.

The Bears hit five of 11 first-half 3-point attempts, but were just 1 for 8 in the second half. Mercer shot just 32.3 percent from the floor, compared to GSU’s 44.7 percent.

The Eagles saw action from 15 different players in the win.

Georgia Southern returns to action in Hanner Friday, when it hosts the Southeastern Conference’s Alabama Lady Crimson Tide at 7 p.m.

 

Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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