ATHENS, Ga. – Six different Georgia players scored eight or more points to lead the 13th-ranked Lady Bulldogs to a 65-59 victory over Alabama on Thursday evening at Stegeman Coliseum.
Khaalidah Miller and Jasmine Hassell led the Lady Bulldogs with 11 points and 10 points, respectively, while Merritt Hempe tallied nine points to go along with three rebounds and a steal. Anne Marie Armstrong, Tiara Griffin and Jasmine James each chipped in with eight points apiece, and Griffin pulled down a career-high eight rebounds on the night.
With the win, Georgia (18-3, 6-2 SEC) notched its 850th victory in program history, becoming just the 10th school in Division I history to accomplish the feat.
"We did what we needed to do to win, and that's the way it goes in the record book, even though the process wasn't pretty,” said head coach Andy Landers. “There were some good decisions and some bad decisions made. A lot of makeable shots were not made tonight."
The Lady Bulldogs opened the game with a strong defensive effort, holding the Crimson Tide (12-9, 2-6 SEC) without a point for the first three and a half minutes of the game. The two teams traded baskets throughout much of the next 10 minutes before Georgia reeled off an 8-0 run to open up a 20-11 lead.
A jumper from Hassell and a three-pointer by Griffin in the final minute of the first half helped give Georgia a 32-25 advantage entering the break.
The Lady Bulldogs began to pull away early in the second half, opening up a 14-point lead with just over 12 minutes remaining. Georgia led by as many as 15 points, but Alabama mounted a comeback effort in the final minutes to narrow the lead for the Lady Bulldogs.
The Crimson Tide used an 8-0 run in the final four minutes to come within four points, but two free throws each by Armstrong and Miller helped seal the victory for Georgia.
Georgia finished the game shooting 34.3 percent from the field and 77.8 percent from the charity stripe. The Georgia bench contributed 25 points compared to just 11 points from Alabama’s reserves. Georgia’s defense also forced 23 Crimson Tide turnovers while holding Alabama to 35.1 percent shooting from the floor, including 25.8 percent from three-point range.
The Lady Bulldogs return to action on Sunday when they travel to Lexington, Ky., for a 2 p.m. tip with Kentucky.
Georgia will return home on Thursday, Feb. 7, to host Auburn at Stegeman Coliseum at 7 p.m.
• With tonight’s 65-59 victory over Alabama, Georgia improves its record to 18-3 (6-2 SEC).
• UGA is now 36-9 all-time against the Tide, with a 16-3 mark in Athens. The Lady Bulldogs have now won 23 consecutive meetings with Alabama dating back to 1998.
• Andy Landers is now only five wins shy of his 900th career victory.
• This win is the 850th in program history, making Georgia the 10th Division I women’s basketball program to record 850 wins. The Lady Bulldogs’ all-time record is now 850-356.
• The Lady Bulldogs used their seventh different starting lineup of the season and the fourth different set of starters in the last four games.
• Freshman Merritt Hempe made her first career SEC start.
• Georgia started three freshmen – Shacobia Barbee, Tiaria Griffin and Merritt Hempe. It marked the first time the Lady Bulldogs started a trio of freshmen since Ashley Houts, Christy Marshall and Angel Robinson did so in an 82-69 victory over Brown on Dec. 30, 2006 at the Surf ‘N Slam Classic in San Diego, Calif.
• After tallying 10 points, Jasmine Hassell has 1191 points for her career, passing Angel Robinson for the No. 24 position.
• Khaalidah Miller is now No. 3 in career three-point attempts in Lady Bulldog history. With her five attempts tonight, she now has a total of 467 3FGAs.
• With two steals tonight, Jasmine James now has 239 career steals, passing Carla Green for the No. 8 position among UGA’s career leaders.
• Anne Marie Armstrong’s two blocks tonight ties her at No. 10 among UGA career block leaders with 104.
• Tiara Griffin collected 8 rebounds tonight, besting her previous career-high of six.
Lady Bulldogs In Double Digits
• Jasmine Hassell tallied 10 points, her 14th double-digit performance this season and 57th of her career.
• Khaalidah Miller scored 11 points, her 10th double-digit performance this season and 47th of her career.
Georgia Head Coach Andy Landers
On tonight’s game...
“We did what we needed to do to win, and that’s the way it goes in the record book, even though the process wasn’t pretty. There were some good decisions and some bad decisions made. A lot of makeable shots were not made tonight.”
On making key free throws...
“Anne Marie (Armstrong) and Khaalidah (Miller) stepped up and looked good doing it. They didn’t rattle ‘em around or bank ‘em in, they put the ball to bed from the free throw line. That kept Alabama at a distance, where we could play with confidence and not be scared at all.”
On the differences in playing Alabama twice this season...
“It’s hard to explain how those things go. They played zone defense tonight and they didn’t in Tuscaloosa, so that slowed things down a little bit. Neither team turned it over hardly as much as they did in the last game, so that took some transition away.”
Alabama Head Coach Wendell Hudson
On tonight’s game…
“Georgia played awful hard and awful well, and I think we did the same. What it boiled down to was that they made some plays in crucial situations that we didn’t make, but I thought both teams really competed and got after each other.”
On late Alabama surge…
“Well, we made some shots. We had some wide open shots over the course of the game and we weren’t making them. Then we stepped up and made some of those shots and then we got a couple of stops, and that combination of making those shots and getting those shots, that really helped us late in the game.”
On the season going forward…
“Well if we continue playing like we are playing, there are plenty of games left for us to win and if we just keep our heads up and play hard then good things will happen. And this is a case of good things almost happening. We just need some people that we count on to score scoring, but other than that we played hard and played well.”