Feb. 2, 2014
STARKVILLE, Miss. --- Despite a career-high 27 points by Erika Ford, Mississippi State still defeated the Georgia Lady Bulldogs 80-67 at Humphrey Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
State (16-7, 3-6 SEC) used a 9-0 run early in the first half to grab a lead, gradually expanded that margin to 18 points late in the period and then withstood several rallies by Georgia (15-7, 3-6 SEC) in the second stanza.
"I was proud of the way we competed but give Mississippi State, they played well," head coach Andy Landers said. "I'm proud of the way we continued to compete in the second half and the way we corrected some of the things we didn't execute well in the first half. I am disappointed that, after two days of practicing the things we thought could hurt us, we allowed them to come out and hurt us with those things throughout the first half."
The Lady Bulldogs pulled within 71-65 on a Krista Donald layup with 2:22 remaining; however, Martha Alwal answered with a layin of her own on the other end. Following a missed baseline jumper by Merritt Hempe, Katia May knocked down a jumper with 1:25 left to put State back up by 10 points.
Alway and May led State with 20 and 17 points, respectively, while Breanna Richardson added 13, 11 in the first half.
Tiaria Griffin added 11 points for Georgia.
A quick 9-0 run gave State a 15-7 early lead and the game's first significant edge. Alwal opened the surge with an old-fashioned 3-point play followed by consecutive 3-pointers by May.
State's lead eventually reached 18 points at 41-23 with 4:19 left in the first half before Georgia began a furious surge to end the period. Ford scored nine points in a 12-2 run over the final 2:26 that trimmed the margin all the way seven points at the intermission.
Ford finished the first half with 18 points and added nine more in the second stanza.
"I thought she was terrific," Landers said.
The Lady Bulldogs actually made one more field goal than State in the first half; however, State converted on 14-of-17 trips to the line to help build its large lead.
Georgia got closest at 46-41 on a Donald layup with 18:26 remaining the game, but Savannah Carter canned a long 3-pointer late in the shot clock to open a 7-0 surge that put State back up 54-41 less than three minutes later.
The Lady Bulldogs pulled with seven three times before making it a two-possession game with just over two minutes left on the clock but could not get any closer.
Georgia will enjoy an open date from SEC competition this Thursday and then host Ole Miss next Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Stegeman Coliseum.
Single-game reserved seat tickets for Lady Bulldog games are $5 for adults and $3 for children. UGA students, faculty and staff are admitted to all Lady Bulldog games free of charge with a valid UGA Card. Faculty and staff should pick up tickets at the Coliseum box office. Students are admitted to the arena via the entrance to the left of the box office by showing their UGA Card.
Single-game tickets are on sale via georgiadogs.com, by calling 877-542-1231 or in person at the UGA Ticket Office in the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall from 8:30-4:30 on weekdays. In addition, single-game tickets go on sale at the Stegeman Coliseum box office (closest to Sanford Drive) beginning 60 minutes before tip-off of every home game.
Erika Ford scored a career-high 27 points, topping her previous best of 23 points against both South Carolina State and Florida this season.
Ford reached double figures for the ninth time this season and the 18th time in her career.
Ford posted her third 20-point game of the year and of her career.
Tiaria Griffin finished with 11 points, her 10th double-digit game of the season and 20th of her career.