Jaiden Hamilton’s career high performance leads Eagles to snap losing streak against Arkansas State

Amanda Arnold

The Georgia Southern women’s basketball team snapped their three game losing streak with a huge victory against Arkansas State at home on Saturday, winning 80-67 during the annual Pack the House in Pink game.

Freshman guard Jaiden Hamilton had the best game of her young college career with 25 points and nine rebounds. Junior guard Tatum Barber contributed 14 points and senior Alexis Brown led the team on defense with 11 rebounds, but was held to eight points.

Hamilton wasn’t expecting such a record performance for herself before the game. She and Head Coach Anita Howard had a lengthy film session yesterday and, as a pair, concluded that she is more successful on offense when she rebounds.

“I feel good,” Hamilton said. “My mindset coming into the game was to rebound…and share the ball…This game, I had to read a lot of defense so I see I’m kind of good at that, so I’ll take that into the next game and into the rest of the season.”

GS led for just about the entire game, and just when it would be considered a blowout, the RedWolves slowly but surely narrowed the deficit down to eight at one point in the fourth quarter thanks to a run from Jireh Washington. Strong Eagle defense stopped their comeback attempt, as only two Arkansas State players could score in the period.

“I wasn’t pleased with our fourth quarter,” Howard said. “Luckily, we were up pretty big so we could make mistakes and still come up with a win…It’s making sure we start early, and now we gotta work on finishing early.”

GS outscored the Red Wolves 23-11 in the third slot and was able to build their largest lead of the game at 26. They sealed their seventh win of the season by shooting 60% from the floor during this time, and slowed down Washington from State. 

In the second quarter, GS began to force fouls and build their lead. They found their way to the free throw line on three separate occasions and made it a point to start grabbing rebounds. GS capitalized off of the Red Wolves’ mistakes and Hailey Dias-Allen and Jaiden Hamilton each went into the half with nine points to lead the team.

In the first quarter, GS immediately fell behind after several missed three pointers. Eventually, the Eagles started going straight to the hole and found success. Jaiden Hamilton broke the GS scoring drought and got the Eagles on the board. At the end of the quarter, GS led by three scores and competition was stiff. 

Turnovers have continued to be a problem for the team, as they accumulated eight in the first 23 minutes of play alone. After a media timeout midway through the second quarter, the team seemed more in control.

“We just had a funky kind of moment,” Howard said about the statistic. “We talked about valuing possession, and so I challenged them to take care of the basketball. I thought we were trying to play too loose and we were just throwing the ball away…It’s a challenge we have to deal with.”

The team hopes to continue adding more W’s to the conference schedule when they play next week on the road in a pair of games in the Pelican State. They will first take on ULM on Thursday and Louisiana on Saturday. Both games can be viewed on ESPN+.

Amanda Arnold, The George-Anne Managing Sports Editor, [email protected]