The Georgia Southern women’s basketball team hasn’t won a postseason game since a 2013 first round victory in the Southern Conference tournament.
Tonight, the Eagles will not only get another crack at ending that streak - they’ll be favored to do so.
Georgia Southern finished its Sun Belt run at an even 9-9 to earn the 6-seed in the conference tournament, which begins today in New Orleans. A .500 record may seem a bit modest, but it’s a huge step forward for a team that won just six conference games in its first two seasons as a member of the Sun Belt.
But the Eagles not only finished with a solid record; they ended the regular season on a 9-6 clip after a tough start and gave a good scare to many of the conference’s top teams a scare along the way.
Tonight, the Eagles will take on Arkansas State — a team that the Eagles defeated 84-76 on the road just two weeks ago. The winner moves on to face third-seeded Troy Thursday night.
“We’ve grown a lot,” GS coach Kip Drown said. “There are some very good teams in this conference and this was going to be a tough tournament, no matter where we fell in the seeding. Literally, any team can win this tournament. The way it will pan out, it.s not much different. There are a lot of teams that can win if they do the right things, and that’s our goal.”
Senior leadership was depended on to allow the Eagles to take the next step towards competing for a conference championship. Georgia Southern’s pair of standout veterans did their part during the season and were recognized as such Monday as Patrice Butler (14.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and Angel McGowan (15.7 ppg) earned conference honors in their senior seasons.
Those honors are well-deserved for Butler and McGowan, but they are also committed to the future success of the Eagles and will look to the team’s more youthful side to help boost a potential tournament run.
As juniors, Sierra Butler and Alexis Foulks have — at times — formed a secondary inside-outside option similar to what McGowan and Patrice Butler provide. Digging even deeper into the Eagles’ newfound depth, Nakol Franks and Alexis Brown have steadily improved as the season has progressed and the freshman duo has worked its way into becoming a feared outside shooting tandem.
The Eagles hope to put everything together tonight and notch a second win over the Lady Red Wolves.
‘We want to be focused and take each game as it comes,” Drown said. “We’re focused on winning Tuesday. If we do that, then we move on to the next challenge.”