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Eagles cope with injuries, ready to move forward

                        Ever since Georgia Southern point guard Alexis Sams went down with a season-ending injury, the pressure has been on for senior Lacie Dowling.
    Saturday at Mercer, the Eagles (2-6) snapped a four-game losing streak with a 61-54 win, and coach chris Vozab is happy with the way the team has adjusted to Dowling running the point.
    “There’s been an adjustment period, and Lacie has done a great job for us,” Vozab said. “She’s someone who was getting some reps at the point and some at the two, but now she’s getting a lot more reps at the point and our kids are learning how to flow together.”
    Dowling has shown that she has all the tools to run the show. In a Nov. 30, loss at Detroit, it was bombs away for dowling, who hit 8 of 11 3-point attempts and finished with a career-high 26 points.
    Sams, a sophomore who will likely receive a medical red shirt, will continue working closely with the team.
    “She’s going to find ways to contribute when she can,” Vozab said, “whether it’s on the court or off the court.”
With forwards Briana Jones and Danielle Spencer each averaging nearly 10 rebounds a game and four Eagles within two points of averaging double figures, the offense has certainly come together.
Now, it’s the defense that needs to catch up.
    “I feel like we’re coming together and making the adjustments we need to make on offense, and we need to make that same commitment on defense,” Vozab said. “Late in possessions we’ve got to find a way to execute under pressure.”
The Eagles give up nearly 74 points per game, and with the Southern Conference schedule opening today at 5 p.m., in Hanner Fieldhouse against Furman (4-4), a physical team with an inside presence, the Eagles will be tested early and often.”
    “We know they’re physical and they’ve got inside players that will battle for the boards,” Vozab said.
    Forward/guard Holli Wilkins leads the Paladins with 14.5 points per game and is second on the team in rebounding.
    Anna Claire Knight leads GSU with 14.6 points per game, followed by MiMi DuBose (9.8) and Jones (7.9).
    Georgia Southern’s shooting has improved from the early season, but the eagles still average only 36 percent from the floor, compared to Furman’s 42 percent.

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