Defense Leads Women's Basketball Over South Alabama
The Eagles continue their four-game homestand Saturday against Troy
STATESBORO, Ga. – Angel McGowan registered 26 points, a career-high seven steals and six rebounds, and Georgia Southern's stifling zone defense held South Alabama to 26 percent shooting as the Eagles earned a 57-43 Sun Belt women's basketball victory over the JaguarsThursday evening in Hanner Fieldhouse.
McGowan's seven steals were tied for the fifth most in school history, and the junior was 8 of 13 from the floor and 5 of 6 from 3-point range. Patrice Butler contributed 13 points and eight rebounds for Georgia Southern (4-8, 1-2), and Alexis Sams collected nine points and six assists.
After giving up 20 points in the first quarter, Georgia Southern switched to a zone defense and allowed just 18 points over the next 29 minutes of game time. The Eagles held South Alabama to 6 of 39 from the floor and forced 14 of the Jags' 16 turnovers during the stretch.
Erin Autio led South Alabama (4-8, 0-3) with 13 points, and Genesis Perrymond scored nine.
Trailing 20-7 at the end of the first quarter, Georgia Southern outscored the Jags 15-5 in the second stanza and trailed by just three at halftime. McGowan capped the period with a 3-pointer and canned two in a row to start the third frame to give the Eagles their first lead of the contest. After Colby Davis hit a triple for South Alabama to tie the score 28-28, McGowan scored five points in a 14-3 Georgia Southern run, and Sams' 3-pointer with seven seconds left in the third gave the Eagles a 42-31 cushion heading into the final period. South Alabama trimmed the margin to nine points, but that was as close as they would get. It was the first Sun Belt win for first-year Georgia Southern coach Kip Drown.
QUOTABLES FROM COACH DROWN
On the game
"In the second quarter, we switched defenses and went to a scramble type of defense just trying to create some tempo, and we got some turnovers. That got our offense going in some rhythm and some tempo, so I thought our offense got started off of our defense and fed off of that. Our offensive tempo got a lot better in the second half, probably the best we've had this whole year in terms of getting movement and motion. We need to get the basketball moving, and we did a better job of that."
"You don't want to go 0-3 and have a loss at home game so it was kind of a statement win. Coming off the Texas trip, we really felt like we could have got Texas State if we would have gotten off to a good start and played 40 minutes. We didn't play well at Arlington at all so in a way, I think it was a pride game, trying to regroup as a team and feel good about ourselves."
On his first Sun Belt win
"I'm really happy for our club because we needed to get that win to stay in contention. It's always nice to get those things out the way and move on. Right now, our thought process is Troy and getting to 2-2 hopefully. We're just trying to focus on one at a time with the idea of being a playoff team."
On facing Troy Saturday
"They've led the Sun Belt in scoring the last three years and scored over 100 points a couple times this year already. They are an outstanding offensive team. We have to keep the ball in front of us, and we're going to work real hard tomorrow and try not to let them get to the rim. With teams like that, you just hope they don't come out and make 14 or 15 3s on you because then they are almost impossible to guard. You have to take something away so you hope you can keep the dribble in front of you and not let them get to the basket on you."
Georgia Southern hosts Troy in a Sun Belt contest Saturday in Hanner Fieldhouse. It's Youth League Day, and the Dublin Jump Rope Team will perform. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m.