Statesboro, Ga. -- Lady Bucs senior guard Kiya Verdell (Hartwell, Ga.) hit the first six 3-point shots she attempted and finished 6-of-7 from long range for a team-high 18 points, but the effort was not good enough as the East Tennessee State women dropped a 78-69 Southern Conference matchup with Georgia Southern Saturday night at Hanner Fieldhouse.
While GSU got a game-high 25 points from Shawnica Hill and head coach Rusty Cram secured his 100th head coaching win for the Lady Eagles, they were not the only major storylines on this evening, as ETSU junior forward Jessica Lonon (Sylvania, Ga.) had a successful homecoming by scoring 17 points just miles from her hometown.
Georgia Southern (8-3, 2-0 SoCon) embarked on a 14-4 run over a four-minute span in the second half to break a 43-43 tie and take a ten-point lead. Jessica Everett's jumper with 15:13 to go in the game began the run, and Dana Benemon's three-point play with 11:28 left in the contest gave the Eagles a 57-47 advantage.
East Tennessee State (3-8, 0-2 SoCon) battled back to cut the margin to five at 61-56 on a Samantha Copeland (Evansville) steal and layup with 8:13 to play, but Hill and Kellie Tiller combined to score the next seven points to match the Eagles largest lead at 68-56 with 4:50 left.
GSU raced out to a 20-8 lead in the first 8:35 of the game, led by Everett's eight points in the span. The Eagles pushed the margin to 29-17 at the 6:53 mark, but the Buccaneers went on a 10-1 run that included Verdell three-pointers to make the score 30-28 with three minutes to go in the half. Georgia Southern ballooned its advantage back to seven before a Verdell trey with 23 seconds to go made the Eagle led 39-35 at the half.
Everett finished the contest with 14 points, while Rachel Loiacono added 10 points. Hill also paced the Eagles with eight rebounds.
ETSU returns to action when it travels to Appalachian State on Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. tipoff.