Jan. 19, 2012
| Complete Box Score (PDF) | Photo Gallery | Full Game Replay
||E. Ford 17
||B. Goss 22
||J. Hassell 9
||A. Mathies 10
||A. Armstrong 7
||A. Mathies 4
||MIller, Mitchell 3
||4 Players w/ 1
||Hassell, Armstrong 1
||4 Players w/ 1
Athens, GA--- Double-digit scoring efforts by all five starters were not enough for the No. 15 Georgia Lady Bulldogs (15-4, 4-2) as the No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats (17-2, 6-0) rallied from a 10-point, second-half deficit to secure a 69-64 victory Thursday evening.
Erika Ford led Georgia with 17 points and five rebounds, her highest since she scored a career-high 18 against Northeastern. Jasmine Hassell recorded 13 points and nine rebounds, while Khaalidah Miller notched 12 points, three assists and three steals. Anne Marie Armstrong and Meredith Mitchell put up 11 points each and pulled down seven and eight rebounds, respectively.
"It was a gutsy performance," said head coach Andy Landers. "We were really short-handed against the team that plays the most players in our conference. I was pleased with the way our kids made plays offensively. I thought they were very good at times and executed well. Kentucky was able to make adjustments as the game went on that made them even more effective. Defensively, we didn't disrupt enough. We weren't as effective as we could have been and that resulted in some drives to the basket. It was a good effort."
Georgia played without Jasmine James and Krista Donald, both of whom are sidelined with knee injuries. James sprained her right knee in mid-December and "tweaked" it in last Sunday's victory at Mississippi State. Donald aggravated a posterior cruciate ligament injury suffered during the preseason, also during the contest in Starkville. Landers said each player's status is "day-to-day."
Bria Goss and Samarie Walker led the Wildcats with 22 and 18 points, respectively.
"We understand that we have the ability to make plays and do things offensively," continued Landers. "On defense, when we are playing zone you have to disrupt the other team. You can't stay back and wait for them to do whatever it is they want to do."
Kentucky is ranked No. 1 in the SEC in steals and turnover margin, while Georgia is ranked No. 2 in both. The Lady Bulldogs won both of those battles; making seven steals and recording 14 turnovers while the Wildcats notched five steals and 16 turnovers.
The Lady Bulldogs started the game quickly, with a 9-3 run that spanned the first 4:40 of the game. Kentucky quickly followed up with a 9-3 run of its own, to tie the score at 11-11 with 15:00 left in the period.
Over the next six minutes, neither team lead by more than three. Georgia took the lead with a Miller jumper with 7:20 left on the clock.
The Lady Bulldogs kept the lead for the remainder of the first half, but Kentucky kept it close, never allowing Georgia to lead by more than seven. Georgia led at halftime 36-32.
After a very close first half, Georgia grabbed its largest lead, 46-36, just 4:20 into the second period. Kentucky once again refused to be left behind and decreased the Lady Bulldogs' lead to 52-50 with 11 minutes left in the game.
Kentucky took the lead, 56-52, for the for the first time in the second half when Goss sank a trey and Walker followed up with a pair of free throws.
The Wildcats built an eight-point advantage, 62-54, with 7:00 left. A 5-0 Georgia run, spanning three minutes, put the Lady Bulldogs back in the game.
With one minute remaining, Armstrong hit a three-pointer and pulled Georgia within two, 64-66. Goss answered with a layup, keeping Kentucky up by four with 26 seconds left in the game. Following a Lady Bulldog turnover, Kastine Evans put the game away for Kentucky when she connected on a free throw and increased the Wildcats' edge to 69-64 with 11 seconds left.
Georgia travels to Oxford, Miss. to take on Ole Miss on Sunday at 3 p.m. The game will be televised regionally on CSS. The Lady Bulldogs return home on Sunday, January 29 to host No. 9 Tennessee at 5 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2 and the first 500 UGA students will receive "Beat Tennessee" t-shirts, pizza and drinks.
The Lady Bulldogs fell to 15-4 overall and 4-2 in conference play.
Georgia is now 34-13 in the series against the Wildcats, including a 16-4 record in Athens.
UGA had a strong inside presence, scoring 38 points in the paint against Kentucky.
Jasmine Hassell, who ranked 11th in the league in field goal percentage entering the game, scored on five of eight attempts to improve her percentage to a 56.8 conversion rate.
Tonight's game featured the top two teams in the conference in steals per game. Kentucky entered the contest averaging 14.2 steals, while Georgia came in averaging 11.2. Georgia added seven to its season total and Kentucky picked up five, bringing their totals to 209 and 260, respectively.
Seven Lady Bulldogs have combined for 61 double-digit scoring performances on the season. Khaalidah Miller, Erika Ford, Meredith Mitchell, Anne Marie Armstrong and Jasmine Hassell all reached double figures against the Wildcats.
Lady Bulldogs In Double Digits
Erika Ford's 17 point total marks her fifth double-digit game of her career and freshman season at Georgia.
Jasmine Hassell recorded 13 points to mark her 14th double-digit game of the season and the 34th of her career.
Khaalidah Miller scored 12 points, recording her 15th double-digit game of the season and the 29th of her career.
Meredith Mitchell tallied 11 points, marking her eighth double-digit game of the season and the 34th of her career.
Anne Marie Armstrong scored 11 points for her ninth double-digit game of the season and the 25th of her career.
Georgia Head Coach Andy Landers
On tonight's game:
"It was a gutsy performance. We were really short-handed against the team that plays the most players in our conference. I was pleased with the way our kids made plays offensively. I thought they were very good at times and executed well. Kentucky was able to make adjustments as the game went on that made them even more effective. Defensively, we didn't disrupt enough. We weren't as effective as we could have been and that resulted in some drives to the basket. It was a good effort."
On the pace of the game:
"We couldn't prepare for the pace of the game. We took Monday and Tuesday off and just talked about the game. We felt it would be a fast-paced game. We felt like both teams would want to do that in different ways. It ended up being a chess game of half-court defenses."
On lessons from the game:
"We understand that we have the ability to make plays and do things offensively. On defense, when we are playing zone you have to disrupt the other team. You can't stay back and wait for them to do whatever it is they want to do."
Kentucky Head Coach Matthew Mitchell
On the game:
"It was a really great game. Hats off to Georgia being down a couple of players, especially losing their point guard for a game like this puts them in a difficult situation. I thought they competed and were extremely well-coached, as always, so it was a tough game for us. I'm really proud of our team for fighting once again from behind on the road and finding a way to win. It's just a real testament to our team each and every night."
On the defense:
"The press was just not there tonight. Georgia did a great job. We were not aggresive enough in it. When we called time out, I hated to do it but I had to take the press off. I just told them to see if we could get some energy in the half-court defense. That really worked. The players somehow had a little more confidence in their half-court defense. That happens sometimes in a long season, so thank goodness we were able to spark a rally with our half-court defense. I thought the story of the game was we turned the turnovers around. We were 10 to their four in the first half and then they were 10 to our six in the second half. I think we are a double-digit turnover team as far as forcing that in a half and we got that going with our half-court defense."