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Georgia Southern women start season with big win at Hanner
Photo by A.J. Henderson, Georgia Southern Athletics Georgia Southern freshman Paris Miller shoots during the Eagles' 99-47 win over Allen University in the season-opener Monday at Hanner Fieldhouse.

The Georgia Southern women’s basketball team got the season started with a bang Monday night at Hanner Fieldhouse.

The Eagles swatted the Yellow Jackets of Allen University, 99-47.

The Eagles were led by Terren Ward with 15 points and seven rebounds. Seven Eagle players finished in double figures in the game.

“I think having seven players in double digits speaks to the kind of depth we have this year,” said coach Anita Howard. “We wanted to make sure we got everyone into the game and give their all. I thought we did a great job of coming out strong but kind of slacked off a bit with the big lead. We need to do a better job of staying focused.”

Coach Howard is optimistic about this year’s squad, who return four starters from last year’s team which finished 18-10 overall and 8-6 in Sun Belt play. The Eagles eventually fell in the second round of the Sun Belt tournament but she believes the experience of playing together has the team ready for bigger things this season. 

“Our key word this year is dominate,” said Howard. “We don’t only want to dominate games but dominate practice as well and warm ups. We want to be elite in all we do. We are looking to get one percent better every day and trying to go into games not looking at the score but worried about our effort and how we can dominate the day.”

Among the keys to this year’s success, Howard is excited about a backcourt that includes returning point guard Ja’nya Love-Hill and some new players.

Among the newcomers this year, the Eagles brought in 5-10 guard Le’Andrea Gillis as a grad student from Savannah State, where she was a two-time All-SIAC honoree for the Tigers. The Eagles also welcome in 5-8 guard Andreana Wrister, who played four seasons at Tennessee State in Nashville before transferring to Providence last season. 

“Ja’nya Love-Hill we call her the brains of the team,” said Howard. “She is solid for us and relaxes the team when we get tight. It’s our first year with the two transfers so they are trying to get used to our pace of play, but Gillis is an elite shooter and you saw some of that in the game tonight.”

Inside, Howard will be counting on All Sun Belt selection junior Terren Ward who averaged 15 points and seven rebounds per game as a sophomore, as well as Taya Gibson who averaged eight points and five rebounds per game last year.

“Terren worked really hard in the gym this summer and is a stat stuffer who gives us double figures in scoring and can lead the team in rebounds and assists on any night,” said Howard. “Gibson is a returning senior and we expect big things out of her this year.

“Other post players include Shy Booker who got 10 rebounds for us and freshman Paris Miller scored 11 points in just nine minutes and she is a Power-5 player if I have ever seen one. She is coming off an ACL injury and she really looked good out there tonight. I also like what Diamond Stokes can do in the post altering shots and pulling down rebounds as well as scoring.”

Next up, the Eagles go on the road to Charleston Southern Sunday at 1 p.m.