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Lady Eagles knock off Appalachian St.
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    Boone, N.C. — Georgia Southern used its 59 percent second-half shooting to outscore Appalachian State 44-28 and secure a 79-63 Southern Conference victory, Saturday afternoon at Holmes Center in Boone, N.C.
    Four Lady Eagles scored in double-figures to help snap a three-game skid and end the regular season on a high note going into the Southern Conference tournament, next weekend.
    Georgia Southern (17-12, 13-5 SoCon) was paced by senior guard Tiffany Brown  off the bench with 21 points on 7-of-9 field goals, including five triples, and a perfect 2-of-2 outing from the charity stripe.  Classmate Shawnda Atwood scored 14 of her total 17 points in the second half, hitting 6-of-12 of her field goal attempts and going a perfect 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.  Jessica Geiger netted 10 points and pulled down nine rebounds, while J’Lisia Ogburn added 10 points.
    The last time four Lady Eagles scored in double-figures was in a win versus Presbyterian College (Dec. 20).
    “We talked to them about pride,” said head coach Rusty Cram.  “That’s what they had to play for today.  It wasn’t going to change the standings. 
    “Win or lose, we were going in more than likely as the fourth seed.  None of that was going to change today, so for us it was all about pride.  The kids focused and played with some pride today and I’m very proud of them for it.”
    With a Davidson victory over College of Charleston, the Wildcats and Georgia Southern remain tied in league record.  But because Davidson has the advantage, head-to-head, Georgia Southern will go into the SoCon tournament as the fourth seed and will face the fifth seed, College of Charleston, Saturday (Mar. 8) at the North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, S.C.
    Whitney Tossie led all scorers with 27 points and was followed by GiGi Thomas with 11 points and Courtney Cunningham with 10.      The Mountaineers finish the regular season 8-21 overall and 5-13 in league play.
    Neither team established a firm lead throughout the first half which saw 12 lead changes and nine ties, and both teams went into the locker room tied 35-35.  App State held a 21-20 edge over GSU in the rebounds category.
    Brown led all scorers at the half with 12 points in a perfect outing from both the field (4-4) and the free-throw line (1-1). Tossie tallied a team-best 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting and a pair of free throws.
    “They found themselves today,” said Cram of the Lady Eagles.  “I thought we had a total team concept.  Today they played together as a team. 
    “All of our percentages at the half were low.  Certainly in the second half they picked up.  And I thought we were taking better shots and we were being a lot more patient.  My hat’s off to the girls; I thought they responded well today.”
    The Lady Eagles came out strong in the second half and used an 18-4 run over the first seven minutes to build up a 53-39 lead at the 13:38 mark.
    Tossie scored six of her team’s next eight points over the following three minutes to close the gap to just eight points with 10:40 remaining in the game.
    But Georgia Southern built up a 16-point lead — its largest of the game — after going on an 11-3 run that included a pair of threes by Geiger and Brown.
    App State closed the margin to nine points with 3:02 remaining, but that was as close as the Mountaineers got for the remainder of the contest as the Lady Eagles made seven of their last nine points from the free-throw line.
    Georgia Southern led in almost every category, shooting 45.6 percent (26-57) from the field, including eight triples, compared to ASU’s 42.9 percent outing.  Key for the Lady Eagles was its tough defense that tallied 18 steals, which helped force the Mountaineers to commit 23 turnovers.  Georgia Southern netted 32 points off of ASU’s miscues, compared to App State’s 23 points off of GSU’s 26 turnovers.
    “We shut down there post game,” said Cram.  “They were shooting the ball well from the first half.  And we told the kids in the dressing room at half that they were shooting well from the perimeter.  They weren’t threes, they were just those good 10-foot knock downs.  So we knew that as we continued to push, and throw numbers at them, we knew that their bench was their weakness.  As they started getting tired, certainly their percentages started coming down.”
    ASU shot 46.7 percent field-goal shooting in the first, but shot only 38.5 percent (10-of-26) in the second half.
    Georgia Southern’s depth produced a 35-7 advantage in bench points, which included a career-high eight points from freshman guard Jamie Navarro.  Navarro’s four steals was also career-best as part of the team’s 18 total steals.
    In addition to dominating the post game, scoring 28 points in the paint, compared to ASU’s 14, the Lady Eagles also held a commanding 40-29 lead in the rebounds category, including 15 offensive rebounds which helped produce a 19-6 advantage in second chance points.
    Head coach Rusty Cram and the Lady Eagles will have a week to prepare for the tournament where they will match up with fifth seed College of Charleston on Mar. 8 at 9 a.m.