On the surface, the biggest difference between a win and a loss for Georgia Southern this season has been where the game was played.
After all, the Lady Eagles have lost only once in Hanner Fieldhouse — a 65-55 loss to Alabama back on Nov. 19. On the flip side, they’ve won only once on the road — a 54-49 victory at Stetson on Dec. 14.
Coach Rusty Cram won’t be concerned with the venue when GSU (8-10, 5-4 Southern Conference) faces College of Charleston (4-13, 1-7) today at 7 p.m. in Charleston, S.C.
That seven-game road stretch was a long time ago, and the Eagles have won seven of the last nine since.
“You’ve got to avoid a letdown,” said Cram about the matchup with the Lady Cougars. “That’s my biggest concern. As far road and home, I don’t think they think twice about that any more. I really don’t. They’re confident because they’re a different team than they were a month and a half ago.”
A big reason for the Eagles’ recent success has been the offense of sophomore Briana Scott. The 6-foot-2 forward has started only five games this season and averages only 1.8 points per game, but is one of only five Eagles to have played in each game this season.
Scott has averaged eight points in the last two games — wins over Appalachian State and Western Carolina — and has found a knack for knocking down mid-range jumpers.
“That’s the piece of the puzzle I’ve certainly been waiting for,” Cram said about Scott. “We knew the defense was there and we knew her rebounding abilities were there. She doesn’t have a quick shot, but when you give her a second at the high post, she’s fairly accurate and she’ll only get better there, her and [Danielle] Spencer, the freshman who’s pretty good at making the high-post shot and just doesn’t have the experience in pressure situations.”
Scott’s scoring helped open things up for the Eagles’ 3-point shooters, most notably freshman MiMi DuBose, who scored 25 and 20 in the last two games respectively, and Cram credits the post game with making that possible.
“Both teams, App and Western, did a good job of getting to our 3-point shooters. If nobody’s scoring points with the high-post shot, you can get three people out on the perimeter for all three of your shooters,” said Cram.
Mid-range jumpers may be the name of the game today against Charleston, as they will likely try defensively to funnel things to the top of the key
“They play a wide zone,” Cram said. “That’s what we’re expecting — a wide zone where they get to your shooters and get inside for a high-post shot. They’re just quick, and it’s a zone, but when they play man-to-man, they don’t let you get in front of them to get to the basket.”
The Cougars are led in scoring by its post game. Freshman forward Janae Smith averages 11.9 points per game.
Georgia Southern point guard continues leading the Eagles in scoring with 12.7 points per game, and DuBose is right on her heels with 11.5.
Meredyth Frye, a 5-foot-10 sophomore who pulls double duty at guard and underneath the basket, averages 10.9.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.