It’s a fairly simple plan — when an opposing team comes in looking to control the paint, own the perimeter.
The Georgia Southern Lady Eagles did just that.
Davidson had a clear-cut size advantage, but the Eagles shot 57.9 percent from behind the 3-point line and turned a one-point halftime lead into a 55-42 win over the Lady Wildcats Saturday at Hanner Fieldhouse.
MiMi DuBose scored a team-high 12 points — all from behind the arc — and point guard Jamie Navarro, who was held scoreless in the first half, hit all three second-half 3-point attempts to finish with 11 points.
"The guards have to play," said GSU coach Rusty Cram. "If our guards don’t play, we’re in trouble. We’re guard-oriented and that’s the bottom line. Those are our go-to people. Jamie is getting fewer and fewer looks because people are stopping her first. That’s the point of attack, but she got a couple of good looks in the second half to give us some breathing room, and I know it made her feel a lot better because she hasn’t gotten that many good looks lately."
DuBose, who entered the game after a rough two-game road swing in which she averaged just seven points, knocked down three 3s in the first 4:41 to help the Eagles (6-10, 3-4 Southern Conference) dig out of an early 5-0 hole.
"One thing coach Cram always says about me is that I’m not afraid to shoot the ball, and I’m not," DuBose said. "I was a little hesitant when the game started because I haven’t shot the ball well. I didn’t really have that many looks [in road losses] against Elon and UNCG, but today’s a new day, it’s a different game, and I just came in here thinking that when I’m open, I’ve got to shoot."
The lead changed hands five times in the first half, but GSU never trailed in the second after a 15-2 run, which included two Navarro 3s, turned a 23-22 halftime advantage into a 34-24 lead with 16:23 to go.
Davidson (5-8, 1-4), which boasts 6-foot-4 forward Sophia Aleksandravicius as its leading rebounder, held only a slight 30-28 advantage on the boards over the undersized Eagles, and GSU won the battle on defense with a 23-21 edge in defensive boards.
DuBose, a redshirt freshman playing her first season of Division I basketball, noted the change in the level of play on the defensive side of the ball after high school.
"You really don’t have to play defense," DuBose said about her prep basketball days. "It’s one of those things where you can go out there and as long as you get your points, your team’s going to win. Here, you’ve got to come in and play defense every single day and that’s tough on everybody, not just the freshmen."
Davidson posed its own set of problems offensively, utilizing ball screens to open up the post. The Eagles shut it down, forcing 20 turnovers and holding the Wildcats to just 29.2 percent shooting from the floor. Davidson missed 10 of its 13 3-point attempts.
"They set a lot of screens and they’re constantly moving." said DuBose. "That’s really hard to defend, but we did a really good job the past few days in practice in doing the things we needed to do and putting it out on the floor here today."
Along with DuBose and Navarro’s long-distance shooting, Meredyth Frye (10 points) and Samantha Williams (eight points) each hit a pair of 3s.
Aleksandravicius got her points for the Wildcats, finishing with 16, but most came from outside the paint. The sophomore sank only her second 3-pointer of the season and went 7 for 7 from the foul line. The Wildcats went a perfect 13 for 13 from the charity stripe.
Georgia Southern sophomore Brianna Scott started for only the fourth time this season at forward and finished with four points, but held Aleksandravicius to only 4 for 13 shooting from the floor.
Davidson forward Kristen Johnson added 10 points in the effort.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Eagles, who will look to build on it Monday at Hanner against Appalachian State at 7 p.m.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.