Looking back at Anita Howard’s first season

Anita Howard’s first season as coach of the Eagles was filled with not just bumpy paths but also a few shining moments here and there. 

Elijah Jackson

After a season full of ups and downs, the Georgia Southern women’s basketball team finished as the ninth seed in the conference with a 10-20 overall record. This was an improvement from last year where they finished last in the conference with a 7-22 overall record. 

GS was also able to make the Sun Belt tournament for the first time since the 2017-2018 season. With six players graduating, the women’s basketball team will be looking to continue to grow and develop under first year head coach Anita Howard.

First season under coach Howard

In the first season under Howard the women’s basketball accomplished a number of things even though the season didn’t go how the team thought it would have. This included breaking the four year drought against Georgia State. 

Not only did the Eagles break the drought but they also managed to win the season series against the Panthers for the first time since the 1994-1995 season. 

Senior guard Alexis Brown managed to finish her career with 1,275 career points while becoming the 24th Georgia Southern women’s basketball player to hit 1,000 career points. 

GS went from 2-16 in the Sun Belt conference with a 7-22 overall record the previous season under head coach Kip Drown to a 7-11 conference record with a 10-20 overall record in the first season with Howard as the coach. 

Having finished in the ninth seed the Eagles made the Sun Belt tournament for the first time in two seasons, but it was short lived as they lost in the first round 64-81 against the Ragin’ Cajuns. 

Freshman Takes Over

Jaiden Hamilton was one of the shining moments during the bumpy season. Even though she was a freshman, Hamilton played a key part for the Eagles averaging 7.0 points per game and grabbing 2.6 rebounds per game while playing in all 30 games with 21 of them being starts. 

 Hamilton originally came to the school not on scholarship but her play and hard work midway through the season had convinced the coaching staff that she deserved a full scholarship. 

Her best game of the season came against an 80-67 win over Arkansas State where she scored a season high 25 points, hitting 7-of-12 three-pointers and grabbing a season high nine rebounds. 

Notables

Compared to last season, Georgia Southern stats for the most part were better in the first season under Howard. 

Total points, field goal percentage, total rebounds, steals and blocks were all up in the 2019-2020 season compared to the 2018-2019 season which was the final season under coach Drown.

Tatum Barber during the season was looked to as the go-to player for the most part. Barber led the team in minutes with 793 total minutes and 26.4 minutes per game. She also led the Eagles in scoring averaging 12.3 points per game and scoring 368 points on the season. 

The Eagles will lean on Barber going forward to next season into her senior season as the future looks bright with Howard at the helm. 

Elijah Jackson, The George-Anne Sports Editor, [email protected]