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GSU gets 200th SoCon win

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GSU gets 200th SoCon win

Georgia Southern forward Danielle Spencer, center, knocks down a shot in the lane against UNC Greensboro during the first half at Hanner Fieldhouse Monday.

There were smiles all over Hanner Fieldhouse on Monday night.

A crowd of 527 watched as Georgia Southern’s women’s basketball team defeated UNC Greensboro, 59-47, to earn the program’s 200th Southern Conference victory. The Lady Eagles are 200-144 in 19 seasons in the league.

More importantly, GSU (8-19, 4-14) ended its seven-game losing streak and helped senior guards Samantha Williams and Janay Wilson celebrate Senior Night. Before playing their final game at home, Williams and Wilson were honored at mid-court and given flowers, a plaque and a commemorative basketball.

Things went so well for GSU that Gus, the mascot, with his tail feathers to the basket, made a no-look 3-pointer during both the pregame warmup and at halftime.

"It’s a lot easier to smile when you’ve got the lead, and you’ve got a 10, 12-point lead pretty much most of the night, which is what we had once we got the lead," GSU head coach Rusty Cram said. "I know we got it up to like 17 or whatever it was at one point, but they’re super-quick. We knew they’d come back with their athleticism. But still, it’s easier to smile when you feel like you’ve got control of the game and things feel right."

GSU was led by junior forward Meredyth Frye, who scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds, both game highs. Wilson scored 13 points and had a game-high five assists. Williams added 12 points, including a game-high four 3-pointers.

The Lady Eagles led by as many as 13 points in the first half and took a 34-23 lead into halftime. In the second half, GSU led by as many as 19 points.

The Lady Eagles played far better than they did during an 83-53 loss to Elon on Saturday at Hanner Fieldhouse.

"We all were very disappointed with our performance (against Elon)," Williams said. "It was embarrassing. To be able to come back and get this win is very important, especially going into the (SoCon) tournament. As a team, we were more relaxed and made a lot better plays with the ball. We were looking for each other more and probably had more assists than we have had in awhile."

UNC Greensboro (4-23, 3-16) was led by sophomore guard Breonna Patterson, who scored 11 points. Senior guard Sarah Folwell came off the bench and added 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds.

The Spartans entered the game fresh off a 60-54 victory at College of Charleston on Saturday, a win that snapped the Spartans’ nine-game losing streak. UNC Greensboro beat GSU, 55-54, on Jan. 15 in Greensboro, N.C.

"We wanted it real bad," Wilson said of GSU’s victory Monday. "Not that we wanted it, we needed it just to lift our spirits up coming into these last couple of games we have here. We’ve had a tough season; a lot of stuff going on, just struggling. But this game was good for us."

GSU’s next game is at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Western Carolina. The Lady Eagles will end the regular season at 7 p.m. Monday at Furman. The SoCon Tournament is March 2-5 in Asheville, N.C.

"We forgot to have fun somewhere down the road during the season," Wilson said. "In this game, we found it. Had fun. Missed layups? That’s alright. Keep going. Play the next play. The SoCon Tournament, it’s 0-0 when we get there. Someone told me there’s no rule in the NCAA that says if you have a losing record going into the SoCon that you can’t win the tournament. It’s anybody’s game."


Noell Barnidge can be reached at (912) 489-9408.


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