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28 November 2007
JSU Hosts Troy; Top Frosh Set to Return

By Al Muskewitz
Star Sports Writer

Reprinted here in its entirety.

JACKSONVILLE — Cierra Duhart is excited about getting back on the basketball court tonight and her Jacksonville State teammates are happy to have her back.

The 6-foot freshman forward missed last weekend’s game at Georgia State after sustaining injuries in a one-car wreck returning to campus from the Thanksgiving holiday.

But she’ll be back on the floor tonight when the Gamecocks (1-4) play Troy (3-1) in their first home game in 16 days looking to snap a three-game losing streak.

“She’ll be starting,” Gamecocks coach Becky Geyer said Tuesday. “She’s back full swing.”

Duhart gave her teammates quite the scare last Friday when, coming back from her Hawkinsville, Ga., home to make practice, she swerved on the road to miss a deer and crashed into a tree. She bruised both knees and one of her wrists.

“I’ve got to say it was the scariest thing that’s happened to me,” she said. “It was the first time I got in a wreck, and I wanted to play.”

At the time of the accident, she was the Gamecocks’ third leading scorer (10 points per game) and second-leading rebounder (6.8 per game).

In her previous two home games, she had 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists against Furman and came within one point of a double-double against Alabama A&M, and was named OVC Freshman of the Week.

“She’s been playing exceptionally well,” Geyer said. “We really could have used her against Georgia State.”

The Gamecocks displayed a new defensive wrinkle in their last game, a 2-3 zone that offset Georgia State’s size and depth for about 35 minutes. They had to come out of it late in the game when the Lady Panthers started hitting shots and just couldn’t match up man-to-man.

“You may see more of it,” Geyer said. “I think it’s circumstantial of who we’re playing and what’s the best way to stop them … (Troy) plays that four-out, one-in offense and they’ve a lot of kids who can shoot and lot who drive; you’ll probably see a little of that (tonight).

“We’ve just got to keep finding what works best for us. If it’s that, great; if it’s man-to-man, great.

“If it’s a combination, that’s OK, too.”

Troy comes to Pete Mathews Coliseum having won three in a row since dropping its opener at Auburn 77-61.

The Lady Trojans have three players averaging double figures scoring — Australians Amy Lewis (18.5), Kylie Morrissy (14.8) and Danielle Realph (10.0) — and they’re quite adept at shooting the 3.

They’re hitting .519 from behind the arc, with Lewis (13-for-20) and Realph a torrid 17 for 36. Larelle Roper, another Australian, hit a 3 at the buzzer to beat Tulsa in their last game.

It was their second last-second win of the year.

About Al Muskewitz

Al Muskewitz covers golf and Jacksonville State University sports teams for The Star.

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