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Lady Eagles hammer Blue Hose
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Two Lady Eagles (far left and far right) battle three members of the Presbyterian hoops team. The Lady Eagles rolled to an easy 66-35 win over the Blue Hose.
    With their first back-to-back wins of the season now in the bag, the Georgia Southern women can rest a little easier over the Christmas holiday.
    A solid defensive performance and another balanced offensive showing by the Eagles resulted in a dominating 66-35 non-conference win over Presbyterian Thursday evening at Hanner Fieldhouse.
    The Blue Hose, a first year Division I program, couldn’t keep pace with the Eagles (5-6), who led the entire game and improved to 4-0 at home this year.
    “That’s major,” Eagle coach Rusty Cram said of his team’s consecutive wins. “That’ll help with our confidence, and it’s always nice to go home at Christmas break with a W under your belt.”
    Sophomore guard Nya Daley paced four Eagles in double figures with a career-high 13 points off the bench. Shawnda Atwood and Tiffany Brown added 12 points each while Ashley Melson scored 11.
    GSU’s defense held the Blue Hose (1-11) to an abysmal offensive outing as PC shot 17 percent from the field (8 of 47) and 15.4 percent (2 of 13) from 3-point range for the game.
“I think the aggressiveness really paid off,” Daley said. “We did foul quite a bit, but for the most part we were just in help-side (defense) and stayed aggressive.”
    With Christmas only a few days away, Cram was concerned about his team’s focus heading into the PC game. Basketball players were pretty much the only students remaining on campus since final exams ended two weeks ago, and Daley said the solitude helped bring the team together.
    “We had to focus on basketball so we just leaned on each other and focused in on winning (against Appalachian State Sunday and PC Thursday) so we could go home with two wins under our belt,” Daley said.
    It was a slow start for both teams, which had just one field goal apiece and combined for 2 of 16 shooting from the field in the first five minutes. Atwood sparked an early 10-2 GSU run with a layup, and less than 10 minutes before the half she hit the second of three straight shots to give the Eagles their first double-digit lead of the night at 16-6.
    Georgia Southern never looked back, going up by 21 after a pair of Melson free throws 3:17 before the break. The Eagles led 34-16 at the half.
“We are just looking forward to getting on a run now,” Daley said. “We had a rough time at the beginning of the season, but we are coming together and playing as a team, so we are pretty excited.”
    The Eagles resume play Thursday, Dec. 27, against Boston University in a tournament at Virginia Commonwealth. They’ll face either VCU or Morgan State the following day and return to conference action for a Jan. 5 game at UNC Greensboro.
Notes: Sophomore forward J’Lisia Ogburn made her first start the season and the third of her career. She finished with three points and a game-high eight rebounds… Sophomore point guard Carolyn Whitney didn’t start for the first time in her career, missing the game because of a flu bug. Her sister, Elise, returned after missing the last two contests with an injury. She scored five points in 16 minutes…Freshman backup point guard Jamie Navarro also missed the game with a bug, which several team members battled this week.
    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.