Athens, GA - The 18th-ranked Georgia women’s basketball team saw four players find double figures, paced by Jasmine Hassell’s 16, in a 79-69 victory over Chattanooga Friday night at Stegeman Coliseum. The Lady Bulldogs handed head coach Andy Landers the well-deserved victory in what was his 1,000th career game at the helm of the Georgia program.
The win pushes Georgia to 2-0 to start the season, while the Mocs fall into an early 0-3 hole.
“What was tough about the first half is we had to score two baskets to change the lead, because they were hitting one three and we’re having to score two two’s to get the lead back,” Landers said. “We were just not good defensively on the ball. I’ve known it and I’ve said it, but we’ve been working on it and we’ll get better at it. That is the biggest thing that I saw. Other than that, we weren’t real bad. We played pretty good. We shot the ball well, we ran the ball, made good decisions, rebounded but we just didn’t defend very well.”
Hassell came off the bench to register 19 minutes in the post, going 7-of-11 from the floor for her game-high 16 points. Porsha Phillips (15), Jasmine James (14), and Tamika Willis (12) followed suit as the Lady Bulldogs shot 52 percent for the game. Phillips contributed 12 rebounds on the night to lead Georgia to a 45-22 advantage on the boards.
Willis shot 6-for-7 in her first career start as the sophomore has now missed only one field-goal attempt on the season after going 4-for-4 in the opener vs. Georgia Southern.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair that saw five ties and a staggering 18 lead changes. The Lady Bulldogs guarded an eight-point lead, 13-5, nearly four minutes in, but Chattanooga’s three-point shooting helped the Mocs back into it. The visitors posted three straight from downtown to take a one-point lead, 14-13, with 14:25 on the clock in the first. The teams continued to trade the lead throughout, and a pair of threes from the Mocs’ Kylie Lambert gave Chattanooga the lead back, 38-37, with 2:06 to go.
Phillips stepped up for a jumper to put Georgia up, 39-38, but Lambert sank two free throws as the Mocs went back in front with 1:17 to go. The Lady Bulldogs then strung together a 7-0 run to close the first frame, using a pair of jumpers from Hassell and a three from Phillips to build a six-point lead, 46-40, at the break. Hassell already had 12 to her name in the first half, followed by Phillips’ nine.
The Mocs shot 10-for-16 from beyond the arc, out of only 13 total field goals made in the first half. Townsend and Kayla Christopher owned a combined seven of them at the midway point.
Georgia built its largest lead of the game to that point at 10, 54-44, with 14:36 to go in the contest on a lay-up from freshman Khaalidah Miller. After Chattanooga pulled it back to within seven, 58-51, with 12:11 left, the Lady Bulldogs tallied a 9-0 run to go up by 16, 67-51, as the clock sank under 10 minutes. Georgia’s largest lead of the night was 18, 71-53, with 8:29 on the clock, coming as James sank a jumper, grabbed a steal on the next Chattanooga possession, and finished with a lay-up.
Meghan Downes made two late threes for the Mocs, who continued to find the stroke from long-range. Downes’ second three made it an 11-point Georgia lead, 76-65, with 2:30 showing, and a pair of late free throws from Townsend closed out the night with Georgia settling for the 10-point victory in front of 2,850.
Chattanooga was led by Whitney Hood’s 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while Townsend ended with 13 and Christopher 11 as Georgia was able to keep the sharp-shooting guard off the scoreboard in the second half.
The Mocs – an NCAA Tournament team in eight of the last nine seasons – scored just 16 points in the paint on the night.
James added five assists on the evening, while Phillips blocked four shots and Meredith Mitchell added a pair of steals. Georgia jumps to 13-1 all-time vs. the Mocs, and remains perfect at 7-0 when playing in Athens.
The Lady Bulldogs will stay home to play a matinee against Indiana this Sun., Nov. 21 at 2 p.m., before hitting the road for three straight beginning with their Nov. 23 meeting at Southern California at 10 p.m. ET in Los Angeles.
• With the win, the Lady Bulldogs have started five consecutive seasons 2-0.
• After winning his 1000th career game on the sidelines as head coach as the Lady Bulldogs, Andy Landers is now 9-1 in “games on the hundreds.”
• Georgia now leads the all-time series with Chattanooga 13-1, including a 7-0 mark at home. This is the Lady Bulldogs’ 12th consecutive win in the series.
• In her first career start, sophomore Tamika Willis scored 12 points in 18 minutes on the floor, both career highs.
• Senior forward Porsha Phillips scored 15 with 12 rebounds for her 13th career and second straight double-double. She last had back-to-back double-doubles against Florida and South Carolina on February 21st and 25th last season.
• Chattanooga hit 13 three-pointers, equaling the most ever by a Lady Bulldog opponent. It was the fourth time a foe has hit 13 threes against Georgia also: Georgia Southern on Nov. 21, 2006; Santa Clara on Nov. 18, 2005; and Eastern Kentucky on Jan. 22, 1990.
Double-Digit Lady Bulldogs
• Jasmine James scored 14 points, her first double-digit point performance of the season and 19th of her career.
• Porsha Phillips scored 15 points, her second double-digit point performance of the season 39th of her career.
• Jasmine Hassell scored 16 points, her first double-digit point performance of the season and the eighth of her career.
• Tamika Willis scored 12 points, her first double-digit point performance of the season and of her career.
• Porsha Phillips had 12 rebounds, her second double-digit rebound performance of the season and 20th of her career.