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Lady Eagles steal road win
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    GREENSBORO, N.C. — Carolyn Whitney and Tiffany Brown combined for 27 points as the Georgia Southern women’s basketball team picked up a 63-50 win over UNC Greensboro, Saturday afternoon, at Fleming Gymnasium.
    Behind Whitney’s (Duluth, Ga.) team- and season-best 14 points and Brown’s (Waxhaw, N.C.) 13, the Lady Eagles improved to 6-8 overall and 2-1 in Southern Conference action.  UNCG’s Kemena Brooks scored a game-high 17 points in the loss as the Spartans fall to 3-11 overall and 1-2 in league play.
    “It is a big win,” said Rusty Cram.  “And there are four reasons for that.  Number one, we lost two in a row, and it’s nice to get a win. The number two point is to beat UNC Greensboro.  They’ve become our big rival now.  The third thing is it is a road game.  Any time you can win on the road, that’s absolutely major because we haven’t had a lot of them this year.  And then the fourth thing for us is it is a conference
game.  The more conference games you can win, certainly you have to, but then on the road makes it even better. So those things all add up, and it’s just sweet to win, period.”
    The Lady Eagles jumped out to a 12-4 advantage within the first seven minutes of the contest.  But the Spartans responded with 10 unanswered points to take the 14-12 lead with 11:09 remaining in the first half.
    “When we were up 12-4 right off the bat, we were hitting on all cylinders,” said Cram.  “We were running the ball well, we were in our offense well, we were being patient, and we were rebounding.  We were doing all the right things.”
    “They made their run by attacking their offensive glass,” added Cram. “We felt like going in that to limit them to one shot was going to be key tonight, and we were doing that for the first six or seven minutes. Once they started going to the boards and getting two or three looks at the basket, they got back into the basketball game.  That’s the kind of team that they are right now and we challenged our kids on that.  Thank goodness they were able to respond and win that battle on the boards.”
    Moments later, a key block by Jamie Navarro (Naples, Fla.) and the ensuing defensive rebound by Shawnda Atwood (Pensacola, Fla.) helped swing the momentum back in GSU’s favor.  Atwood knocked down a free throw with 9:39 on the clock to put Georgia Southern up by one, 17-16, and the Lady Eagles never looked back.
    Later in the first half Georgia Southern used a pair of back-to-back three pointers by Brown and Whitney to spark an 11-0 run to give the Lady Eagles a 12-point, 30-18 advantage with 5:06 on the clock.  The run was capped by Ashley Melson’s triple and the Lady Eagles went into the locker room with a 12-point, 35-23 lead at the break.
    In second half action, an almost five-minute drought plagued both teams.
    A steal by Nya Daley (Toronto, Ont.) led to a fast break layup by Brown to stop the drought and the Lady Eagles held a 37-23 lead with 15:49 on the clock.
    Four GSU turnovers and an 11-3 UNCG scoring run over the next six minutes put the Spartans back into the game, trailing by only six points, 40-34, with 8:59 on the clock.
    But a triple by Whitney on the next possession stopped the momentum, and the Lady Eagles slowly widened the gap en route to a 13-point, 63-50 victory.
    Georgia Southern led the Spartans in the rebounds category, 41-38, and in bench points, 20-14.  GSU scored 11 points off of UNCG’s 11 miscues, compared to six Spartan points off of 14 GSU turnovers.
    Also making key contributions to the win were strong outings by Atwood, Ashley Melson (Newnan, Ga.), J’Lisia Ogburn (Dublin, Ga.).  Atwood and Melson each tallied nine points and seven rebounds, apiece.  Ogburn added seven points and five rebounds.
    “Those are pretty good numbers that (Ogburn) is throwing up
consistently,” said Cram.  “We needed that.  That’s major for us because it gives us a little more that we can go to.”
    Georgia Southern made 26 of 60 shots from the field (43.3 percent), including seven three-pointers, three each by Whitney and Brown.  UNC Greensboro hit 18 of 57 of their shots from the field (31.6 percent), but outshot the Lady Eagles from the free-throw line 11-of-16 (68.8 percent), compared to GSU’s 4 of 8 (50.0 percent ).
    “It was the best offensive night we’ve had in a long time,” said Cram. “Not necessarily the number of points, but it’s the fact that we were very patient within our offense and a lot of different people were getting different looks.”
    Georgia Southern will continue conference play on the road as it faces SoCon foe Elon, Monday at 7 p.m.