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Lady Eagles hope to rebound against SoCon leaders UTC
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     A day after a road loss it’s eager to move past, the Georgia Southern women’s basketball team was back at work inside Hanner Fieldhouse, focusing on what’s ahead instead what happened Saturday afternoon in Cullowhee, N.C.
    The Eagles (16-10, 12-3) are looking to regroup quickly from a 87-58 loss at second place Western Carolina Saturday, but the road doesn’t get any easier as they host a dominating Chattanooga (24-3, 16-0) team tonight. Females of all ages will be admitted to the game for free.
     The 29-point loss — GSU’s worst Southern Conference defeat this season — snapped the Eagles’ five-game winning streak and dropped them into third place in the league standings.
    “They had (Saturday) to get over it,” Georgia Southern coach Rusty Cram said following Sunday afternoon’s workout. “It was a long bus ride home. The sun came up this morning, and they decided they want to get back to where they were. The nice thing is we can still win second (place in the SoCon). We can still go in (to the tournament) as the No. 2 seed if we win out and UTC beats Western. There’s still something to play for other than pure pride.”
    Cram said the team was very receptive in practice Sunday, and he thinks the quick turnaround of playing another game tonight might be a good thing so the Western lost won’t be dwelled on. The Eagles had good looks at the basket early against the Catamounts but couldn’t find any sort of rhythm offensively.
    “They started getting some fast breaks at the other end, and from there it just became a domino effect,” Cram said. “We kind of lost our composure a little bit and got frustrated as we couldn’t score. We got caught up playing their game and just kept feeding them. The higher they got, the further south we went. It was just a good old fashioned whipping. Everything they threw up went in. It was just one of those nights.”
    The Mocs are easily the most dangerous team in the SoCon, and their resume this year includes wins at Clemson and Alabama. They’ve won 19 straight games with their last defeat coming in a four-point loss at Alabama A&M on Dec. 1.
    Western Carolina is the only SoCon team that’s come close to knocking off the Mocs, but the Cats fell short when UTC snuck out of Cullowhee, N.C. with a five-point win back in December. Chattanooga downed the College of Charleston 62-36 Saturday to lock up at least a share of its ninth consecutive regular season league title.
    “(Tonight) we are definitely going to bring it because we have nothing to lose,” senior Shawnda Atwood said.
    The Eagles — winners of 11 of their last 13 games — are looking to avoid a season sweep by the Mocs, who topped GSU 64-50 in late January. Chattanooga’s best weapon is senior Alex Anderson, who leads the SoCon in scoring with 17.8 points an outing.
    “We have to be hitting on all cylinders — rebounding, defense, offense,” Atwood said. “The competitive juices have to come out, and we’ve got to be pumped, ready to play.”
    Said Cram: “They are just so good at every position. They shoot the ball well, take the ball to the hole well, rebound well, are great free-throw shooters, know the system and they’re deep. They are very experienced, are used to playing at the next level and certainly are very well-coached. To play with Chattanooga, you’ve got to be able to score, hold them as much as you can, not turn it over, rebound and play one-on-one defense.”
    Tip-off is 7 p.m.

    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.