In the week leading up to the Christmas break, the Georgia Southern Lady Eagles needed some good news.
They got more than they bargained for.
They broke a seven-game losing streak with a win on the road over Stetson on Dec. 14, knocked off perennial Southern Conference power Chattanooga after that, and capped it all off with a Dec. 20 win in Hanner Fieldhouse over Samford — a SoCon foe which, until that point, had never lost to the Eagles.
After an eight-day vacation, GSU (4-8) returns to Hanner to take on High Point (6-6), and is hoping to play like the team that beat the Lady Bulldogs, and not the one that lost seven straight.
“It’s the way they won,” said GSU coach Rusty Cram about the SU game. “They played toe-to-toe with them the whole time and it wasn’t a fluke. It was just a good basketball game. It really picked up their confidence and it kind of solidified that they can play.
“You can’t get complacent now. I told the kids in practice [Monday], ‘Now, you’re not going to be able to surprise anybody. People are going to be prepared for you because they know you can play. You’re going to have to continue to play hard every ball game to continue to get better.’”
The Eagles got more rest than they anticipated, as several players were stuck at home for the holidays.
“Because of the weather [the break] was a little bit longer than we planned this time,” Cram said. “They were supposed to be back on the 26th for practice, but seven or eight of them got snowed in, in different states, so we couldn’t get back until the 27th.”
The game against High Point will be the last non-conference game of the regular season, and while the Eagles saw success starting five guards against the Bulldogs, Cram is still looking for some freshmen to step into larger roles in the post game.
“We did a better job defensively against Samford,” Cram said about the forwards, “but we still aren’t getting any points out of the post game.”
Guards Krista Tate (5.3 rebounds per game) and Meredyth Frye (5.6) continue to lead with the boards, but freshman Danielle Spencer and sophomore Briana Scott are the only forwards to appear in all 12 games this season.
Senior point guard Jamie Navarro (13.7 points per game) leads GSU in scoring, and her 3-point percentage (45.5 percent) is actually higher than her overall field-goal percentage (42.4 percent). Redshirt-freshman guard MiMi DuBose has also been a sharp-shooter behind the arc, hitting 24 of her 64 attempts (37.5 percent).
“We’ve got our first seven,” Cram said about the lineup. “Now we’ve got to get eight, nine and 10 to complete that picture.”
The forward with the highest scoring average is Candice Ivy (3.7 points per game).
The biggest difference with the play of GSU during the last two weeks has been confidence, which was lifted after the Stetson win and has been solidified with back-to-back conference victories.
“You’re just looking for any kind of win, but to get three in a row, the kids start getting confidence,” said Cram, “and that’s what they had to have.”
Tipoff for today’s game takes place Wednesday at 7 p.m., and the Eagles resume SoCon play on the road at Elon on Jan. 3.
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.