Jan. 3, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The No. 10 Georgia Lady Bulldogs used a decisive 77-46 victory to welcome the Missouri Tigers to the SEC on Thursday evening at Stegeman Coliseum.
The Lady Bulldogs (13-1, 1-0 SEC) were led by Jasmine James with 16 points and Marjorie Butler and Khaalidah Miller with 11 points each. Butler's 11 points marked a season-high for the freshman. Jasmine Hassell pulled down eight rebounds to lead Georgia on the boards. Tamika Willis was not far behind with a season-high seven rebounds.
"It's great to come out and get our first conference game behind us and for that to be a W, but even better, it's great to come out and play as well as the basketball team played tonight," said head coach Andy Landers.
The Tigers (11-4, 0-1 SEC) were led by Bri Kulas, who had 14 points and seven rebounds.
The Lady Bulldogs took an early lead when Shacobia Barbee sank a three-pointer to open the game. The Tigers tied the game less than two minutes later when Kulas converted a three-point play.
A James jumper put Georgia back on top, 5-3, but Missouri kept the game close and didn't allow Georgia to lead by more than five. Soon after the Tigers pulled within two, the Lady Bulldogs hit a trio of treys to put Georgia up by 11, 22-11.
After a layup by Missouri, the Lady Bulldogs embarked on an 11-2 run that lasted six minutes and stretched Georgia's lead to 33-15. In the final four minutes of the first half, Georgia outscored Missouri 12-6, bringing the score to 45-23.
In the first period, the Lady Bulldogs scored 15 points off of 12 Tiger turnovers, while only committing three turnovers of their own and also notching seven steals.
The Tigers used the first two minutes of the second half to cut Georgia's lead to 45-30, with a 7-0 surge. The Lady Bulldogs used a 9-2 run of their own to bring their lead back to 54-32.
After Georgia had regained its 22-point lead, the Tigers were able to match the Lady Bulldogs basket-for-basket for the next four and a half minutes. Georgia then used a 10-3 run to increase its lead to 73-44. In the final minute of the game, the Lady Bulldogs were able to stretch their lead to 31 points at 77-46.
For the game, Georgia shot 44.1 percent from the field, while holding Missouri to 32.7 percent. The Lady Bulldogs also out rebounded the Tigers 46-31.
Next, the Lady Bulldogs will play back-to-back road games, when they travel to Knoxville, Tenn. to take on No. 12 Tennessee on Sunday, Jan. 6 at 1:00 ET. The game will be televised regionally on SportsSouth. Georgia will then play Alabama on Thursday, Jan. 10 at 9:00 ET. The Lady Bulldogs will return home on Sunday, Jan. 13 to host No. 18 South Carolina at 1:00 ET. Both the Alabama and South Carolina games will be broadcast on CSS.
Andy Landers is now only 10 wins shy of his 900th career victory.
Tonight's game marked the first-ever outing for Missouri in Southeastern Conference play.
Georgia now owns a 26-5 record in SEC openers, including 15-2 in SEC openers in Athens.
Krista Donald notched her first field goal of the season with a three-pointer in the first half. She finished with five points in the game.
Jasmine James surpassed Janese Hardrick for 22nd all-time on Georgia's career scoring chart. James scored 16 points tonight to give her a total of 1,219 for her career. She is now only six points away from No. 21 Tawana McDonald. James also tied a season-high with six steals.
Eight different players scored at least five points for the Lady Bulldogs tonight.
Freshman Marjorie Butler scored a career-high 11 points on the night.
Tamika Willis came off the bench to grab a season-high seven rebounds.
Tiara Griffin tied a season-high with three steals off the bench.
Anne Marie Armstrong tied a season high with two blocked shots, and she is now just three blocks away from No. 10 Wanda Holloway among UGA's career leaders.
Lady Bulldogs In Double Digits
Jasmine James scored 16 points tonight for her 10th double-digit scoring outing of the season and 62nd of her career.
Majorie Butler scored 11 points tonight to mark her first career game scoring in double digits.
Khaalidah Miller scored 11 points to give her seven double-digit scoring outings on the season and 44 for her career.
Georgia Head Coach Andy Landers
On tonight's game...
"It's great to come out and get our first conference game behind us and for that to be a W, but even better, it's great to come out and play as well as the basketball team played tonight."
On subbing five players at once in the first half...
"You remember back earlier in the year when we did it, and it always paid dividends. Those guys came in every time and affected the way the game was being played. I felt like they were going to be able to go out there and function the way they did. Particularly after watching today in practice and in shootaround, our second group was better today in their preparations than our first group."
On the defensive play of the guards...
"I thought the guards were great out on the ball. Jasmine James was solid, but I thought Tiara Griffin was equally as effective on the basketball. All of them were very, very good."
Missouri Head Coach Robin Pingeton
On tonight's game...
"I understand the strength of the SEC and a program like Georgia with such a great tradition. Coach Landers has won a lot of games this year and for many years. I don't think they were much different than we anticipated - they're a very veteran team with poise and toughness. We have a lot of respect for UGA and for the whole SEC. We have a young team and we will have to grow up in a hurry in this league. We'll have some bumps in the road and challenges along the way as we build our program at Mizzou, but we will stay the course and take it day by day."
On the team moving forward from tonight...
"I thought at times we showed the poise that we needed, but at other times we got caught up in our aggressiveness. I thought we did a good job of rebounding in the first half, but in the second half against that zone it was tougher, as it always is. We've got to improve as we go up against these tough SEC teams and we'll just work on getting better every day."