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GS Lady Eagles Knock Off First-Place Dukes, 69-65, On Thursday

Georgia Southern halts JMU's 13-game win streak; Terren Ward 23 points leads the Eagles | Story by GS Athletics
Credit: A.J. Henderson GS Athletics

HARRISONBURG, Va. - Georgia Southern's (GS) Terren Ward snapped a 65-all tie with a pull-up jumper with 24 seconds left, then secured a rebound and knocked down a pair of free throws with seven seconds left to give the Eagles a 69-65 Sun Belt Conference women's basketball win over first-place James Madison on Thursday evening at the Atlantic Union Bank Center in Harrisonburg.

The Eagles (12-4, 4-3 SBC) halted their own two-game slide with the victory over the Dukes, who were ranked No. 6 in the latest Mid-Major Rankings. James Madison (16-3, 6-1 SBC) saw its 13-game win streak which dated back to November, come to an end.

The Dukes scored the game's first four points, but the Eagles quickly went back in front on a pair of three-pointers from Ward. Georgia Southern led by one, 20-19, at the break and the Eagles took a nine-point lead into halftime, 37-28.

James Madison came back behind the long-range shooting of Peyton McDaniel, who hit 4-of-5 threes in the third quarter as the Dukes cut the lead to three, 55-52.

After the Dukes tied it at 62-all with 2:43 left, Simone James' baseline drive and layup put the Eagles back in front. JMU then tied it with 50 seconds left, setting up Ward's late-game heroics.

Ward scored 23 points to lead the Eagles offensively, while James added 11 points. McDaniel finished with 26 points to lead the Dukes on 10-of-18 shooting from the floor, including 6-of-11 threes.

Eagle of the Game
Ward scored in double figures for the 16th time this season, hitting three three-pointers and also narrowly missing a double-double with nine rebounds. In a duel of the league's two top scorers, Ward finished with 23 while JMU's Kiki Jefferson ended the night with eight.

Stat of the Game
Georgia Southern finished the game with 53 rebounds, and the +16 rebounding margin was the largest for the Eagles against a Sun Belt opponent this season.

Head Coach Anita Howard on the difference in the victory over the Dukes
"We defended, finally! I told the team they needed to sit down, get stops, and get kills, which are three stops in a row. And we did that in crucial moments. We lost the lead, but we did a great job keeping composure. We didn't score our usual 90 points, but we defended tonight against a very strong opponent."

On the importance of the win over the first-place Dukes
"This is one we needed. Our spirits were down a bit, after going 0-2 at home last week. And to come in here facing the undefeated big dog, riding a 13-game winning streak - we ended up treating it like another game, so the players wouldn't be nervous. But I challenged them to rebound and defend. And we got back to doing that."

Next Up
Georgia Southern travels to UL Monroe to take on the Warhawks on Saturday, January 21, at 3 p.m. in Monroe, La.