Owls outlast Eagles in season opener

Randall Hampton

Victory was not in the cards for the women’s basketball team as the Georgia Southern University Eagles came up short against the Florida Atlantic University Owls 75-55.

The margin of victory was 20 points, but the game was closer than the final score would indicate. “Those guys, they want to turn this around, and they played with a lot of energy,” head coach Chris Vozab said.

It was GSU that struggled to harness its energy on opening night at Hanner Fieldhouse.  Senior guard Meredyth Frye, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder from last year, picked up two fouls five minutes into the game.

With Frye saddled with foul trouble, FAU wasted little time making GSU pay for its mistakes with an 8-0 run.  It was clear that FAU wanted to establish redshirt junior forward Chenise Miller in the post.

Miller attempted 10 first half shots and managed to knock down three of them.  With Frye on the bench, the Eagles needed an offensive spark from somewhere.

Junior guard Mimi DuBose would answer the bell with 13 first half points.  She went 2-4 from the field, but most of her damage was done at the free throw line as she went 8-9.

It was DuBose that hit three free throws to give the team its first lead under Vozab late in the first half.

“I have to attribute all that to my teammates. They do a great job of getting me open and finding lanes for me, so they deserve the credit as much as I do,” DuBose said.

The Eagles held FAU to 36 percent shooting in the first half but 12 offensive rebounds led to 13 second chance points.

GSU would turn the ball over twice in the last two minutes and go into the locker room down 35-30 at halftime.

If second chance points and foul trouble told the story of the first half, points in the paint and rebounds told the story of the second half.

“We would work really hard, try and get a stop, and they’d miss a shot.  We’d miss a box out or get pushed out of the way on a box out, and those are just kind of dagger plays,” Vozab said.

GSU was out rebounded 49-35 for the game as freshman forward Sierra Kirkland tallied eight rebounds to lead the Eagles. The Eagles surrendered 40 second half points to FAU, and 20 of those points were in the paint.

“I thought we battled through some foul trouble. We battled through poor shooting. I mean we shot 29 percent for the game.  We made run after run and battled back, and like we’ve been talking about, it’s got to be 40 minutes. We have to sustain that,” Vozab said.

GSU will see if it can put it together for 40 minutes in the team’s next game against Georgia State University on Nov. 23.