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GSU ladies tip off tourney vs. WCU
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Georgia Southern guard Anna Claire Knight, right, drives past Elon defender Kelsey Harris during the second half at Hanner Fieldhouse Monday night.

    You can’t ask for a more even matchup.
    Georgia Southern, the No. 8 seed in the Southern Conference women’s basketball tournament, faces No. 9 Western Carolina, a team the Eagles split with during the regular season.
    Both teams are 7-22 overall.
    The last time they met was the 2012 SoCon tournament, when WCU won in overtime.
    They’ll do it again today at 11:30 a.m., in the opening round in Asheville, N.C., in Kimmel Arena.
    Even as the matchup may be, first-year GSU coach Chris Vozab can’t help but think only of the 63-52 loss on Feb. 13, in Cullowhee, N.C.
    “I thought that the game at their place was probably the worst we played through the second trip through the schedule,” Vozab said. “They took it to us a little bit, so we’ve really focused on correcting the things that didn’t go right. We haven’t let some of those mistakes happen again.”
    Since that loss the Eagles are 3-3 with wins over Samford, Wofford and UNC Greensboro. A lot of their offensive output has to do with all of the scoring done by shooting guard MiMi DuBose during the first half of the season.
    “Early in the year when we were struggling to score, MiMi DuBose was really scoring a lot,” Vozab said. “I think that forced people, the second time around, to play her differently. While she’s not doing as much in terms of points, I’ve been pleased with the way she’s showed patience and understood that people are guarding her differently and it’s opened things up for our other scorers.”
    The winner of today’s game between WCU and the Eagles will face No. 1 seed Chattanooga (26-3, 19-1 SoCon) — an imposing task for either team — but Vozab isn’t thinking about that yet. She’s thinking exactly the same message she’ll share with the team today.
    “It’s the same thing I’m going to tell our kids about going into tournament play,” she said. “I’m proud of our kids and the way we’ve been growing. We’re playing a team we know really well, and I want to stay focused on one game. Stay in the moment. I don’t want them thinking that this is a tournament, so anything has to change.”
    And within the game are a bunch of four-minute periods.
    “It’s a 10-round boxing match,” Vozab added. “Every (media) timeout, we evaluate where we are, and I think we’re at our best when we’re doing that.”

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