STATESBORO, Ga. - A pair of three-pointers gave the College of Charleston a lift over the Lady Eagles late in the game, Saturday, as the Cougars defeated Georgia Southern, 54-53, their first-ever victory at Hanner Fieldhouse.
The Lady Eagles (5-6, 0-1) were led by freshman Carolyn Whitney (Duluth, Ga.) who scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Her three-pointer with 43 seconds remaining put GSU within a point, 54-53.
In the final seconds, Georgia Southern's tight defense forced a pair of steals, which gave the Lady Eagles the opportunity to make the go-ahead bucket. But their last attempts wouldn't fall and the Cougars came away with the win.
The Cougars (3-5, 1-0) were paced by forward Erika Smith who tallied 14 points and 12 rebounds. Hughes had 11 points on the day, and teammate Jill Furstenburg added 10 points and seven rebounds. Furstenburg's crucial three-pointer gave the Cougars a four-point lead with 1:18 remaining.
Both teams struggled in the field goal shooting category. The College of Charleston shot 31.3 percent on 20-of-64 shooting, while the Lady Eagles made 17-of-61 (.279) field goals.
"They out-hustled us and they were the aggressors," explained head coach Rusty Cram on the teams overall performance. "...We tried a little bit at the end to show some heart and salvage the game. But it was too little, too late."
The Cougars held a two-point lead going into the halftime break, 30-28.
A bulk of GSU's points in the first half came off of 16-of-20 (.800) free-throw shooting. Carolyn Whitney's 5-of-6 and Shawnda Atwood's 4-of-5 shooting from the charity stripe helped keep the Lady Eagles close.
Atwood (Pensacola, Fla.) added 10 points on the day and a team-high tying eight rebounds. Junior forward Chequilla Jessie (Sanford, Fla.) shared the team-lead in the rebounds category with eight rebounds, also adding six points.
The Georgia Southern bench outscored the Cougars 23-11 while the Cougars tallied 16 points off of 16 turnovers, compared to GSU's 11 points off of 17 turnovers.
The lead changed 11 times throughout the game and the Cougars claimed the go-ahead point when sophomore Jade Hughes sank a free throw with 1:36 remaining.
The Lady Eagles will next play the third of a five-game homestand as they host Troy University - a rematch from earlier in the season, Thursday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.