With one game left before next week’s Southern Conference basketball tournament, the Georgia Southern Lady Eagles have destiny in their own hands — almost.
The Eagles host Furman today at 5 p.m. in the season finale at Hanner Fieldhouse, and with identical SoCon records, both teams need a win to earn a first-round bye in the tournament.
Georgia Southern (12-16, 9-10 SoCon) also needs a little bit of outside help.
Currently a game ahead of the Eagles in the league standings, UNC Greensboro must lose to Appalachian State today at 5 p.m.
A GSU win and a UNC Greensboro loss would give the teams matching records in the fifth spot in the standings, but in that scenario, the Eagles would have the tiebreaker by virtue of their season sweep of No. 1 seed ASU, which they defeated 73-65 on Jan. 10 at home and 67-57 Monday in Boone, N.C.
The Eagles are well aware of the top-five seed on the line today.
“We go through scenarios all throughout the course of the year when there are must wins,” said GSU coach Rusty Cram. “For the last two or three weeks, we’ve been talking about if we split with everybody other than Charleston, the key was splitting with the teams ahead of you. When it comes down to the draw, you don’t want to split with the teams behind you.”
After an instrumental, 26-point performance in the home win against ASU, freshman guard MiMi DuBose was injured and has missed the last eight games.
She will return to the court today.
“She won’t be full go,” said Cram, “but she’ll get some minutes and work her way back in for the tournament.”
DuBose averages 10.6 points per game and shoots 39.2 percent from behind the 3-point line. She has spent the week practicing to get back to game speed.
“She worked out last week on her own with no contact,” Cram said. “She was released Monday, so she’ll have three practices under her belt.”
Furman (13-15, 9-10) beat GSU 58-50 on Jan. 22 in Greenville, S.C. in a game the Eagles led most of the way.
“It was a pretty tight ballgame,” said Cram. “They’re just well coached and well have to play well to beat them. They know what’s at stake, too.”
Furman’s three guards know how to score. Kaitlin Murphy (13.4 points per game), Kelly O’Conner (13) and Kendra Berry (10.3) each average double digits for the Lady Paladins.
Point guard Jamie Navarro continues to lead the Eagles, shooting 40.5 percent fromlong distance and averaging 11.4 points per game. Meredyth Frye also averages 11.4.
Navarro, Krista Tate and Logan Youngblood will be honored before the game today. The team’s three seniors will play their last game at Hanner.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.