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McGowan sparks win

McGowan sparks win

McGowan sparks win

Georgia Southern guard Angel McGowan ...


    It may have been senior night, but true freshman Angel McGowan stole the show.
    The Georgia Southern guard scored 18 points to lead the Eagles to a 74-72 win over Appalachian State on Saturday at Hanner Fieldhouse.
    McGowan, whose role increased when MiMi DuBose was injured on Feb. 8, scored a career high 26 in a win over Davidson on Feb. 15 and led GSU in scoring for the first time in her career against Appalachian State
    “I’ve had a freshman lull this season, but my teammates are behind me and they’ve known that I had it in me,” McGowan said. “I just haven’t had confidence to bring it out. Then (DuBose was injured) and it was my time to step up. Ever since then I’ve just been rolling, I guess.”
    Appalachian State (11-15, 8-8 Southern Conference) made things interesting in the final moments when, down 74-69, Bria Huffman rattled home a 3-pointer with 3 seconds remaining. Anna Claire Knight lost the inlet pass out of bounds, and the Mountaineers got it back into Huffman’s hands, but she bricked the potential game-winning shot.
    Georgia Southern (9-17, 7-8) took its first lead of the game with 14 minutes, 48 seconds remaining when McGowan drove to the bucket for a layup and got fouled hard by ASU’s Joi Jones.
    McGowan converted the free throw and put the Eagles ahead 44-42.
    Knight (16 points) gave GSU its biggest lead when she hit a 3 and made the score 66-57, but the Mountaineers went on a blistering 10-0 run that took only 1:38 and pulled ahead 67-66.
    McGowan came up big again by slashing into the paint and hitting a layup that gave the lead back to GSU for good.
    The Eagles started the game hot as Lacie Dowling canned back-to-back 3-pointers, but as a team GSU missed 12 of its first 15 shots while the Mountaineers built an early lead. ASU took its largest first-half lead when KeKe Cooper (18 points, 11 rebounds) scored consecutive layups and the Eagles trailed 18-11.
    Georgia Southern picked ASU’s pocket twice in a row, resulting in layups by DuBose and Knight.
    “I was proud of (Knight) because I thought early in the game she was a little bit rushed and she wasn’t in a very good rhythm," GSU coach Chris Vozab said. "She calmed down and made some big plays for us."
    It was the first game back from injury for DuBose who hit a 3 to close the Mountaineers lead to 32-31 at the break with a 3.
    DuBose scored 11 points and Dowling added 10.
    DuBose, Dowling and fellow seniors Jordi Cook, Brittany Benzio and Danielle Spencer started the ballgame in honor of senior night.
    “We wanted to see our seniors go out on senior night on a good note, and we gave it all we had,” McGowan said.
Georgia Southern will play its final home game of the season on Monday at 7 p.m., against Western Carolina in Hanner Fieldhouse.
    “We expect another physical battle,”  Vozab said, “a similar kind of game as this, and we need to get geared up to have the same kind of toughness we had today.”

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

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