ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia sophomore Merritt Hempe led all scorers with 10 points as the Lady Bulldogs claimed a 45-30 season-opening victory over Presbyterian on Sunday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.
Junior Krista Donald chipped in with eight points for Georgia, while senior Khaalidah Miller added seven points, while tying career high marks with 11 rebounds and six assists. Hempe was the only double-figure scorer in the game.
"Defensively, I didn't think we were very effective on the ball," said Georgia head coach Andy Landers. "Everybody on our team got taken to the rim. We're hugging people away from the ball. So consequently when they use the screen, we're chasing our man. That pretty much sums it up defensively all day long."
Both teams struggled to score early on in the game, but Georgia eventually used a 9-0 run midway through the first half to help create a 15-6 lead with just over five minutes remaining until the half. Miller collected eight rebounds to go along with four points in the first half, as the Lady Bulldogs held a 19-10 advantage entering the break.
Miller led the charge for the Bulldogs at the start of the second half, quickly converting on a three-point play in the first 30 seconds. A three-pointer by freshman point guard Sydnei McCaskill helped extend the Georgia lead to 30-16 in the half's opening minutes, and the Bulldogs would continue to cruise offensively en route to claiming the 45-30 win.
McCaskill played all 40 minutes in her first career game for the Lady Bulldogs, knocking down a pair of three pointers and contributing four rebounds, two blocks and a pair of steals.
Georgia outrebounded the Blue Hose 51-37, including an 18-13 edge on the offensive glass, and limited Presbyterian to just 20 percent shooting from the field for the game, including 16 percent from three-point range. The Lady Bulldogs also outscored the Blue Hose 22-14 in the paint.
Georgia will return to action Thursday evening against Mercer at Stegeman Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Georgia improved to 5-0 all-time against Presbyterian, including a 4-0 record in Athens. The Lady Bulldogs won their season opener for the 12th time in the last 13 years. The lone setback during that span was to defending national champion Baylor in the opening game of the 2005-06 campaign. Georgia is 30-5 in season openers under Andy Landers. The Lady Bulldogs are 32-9 all-time in season openers. Freshman Sydnei McCaskill started for Georgia in her collegiate debut. McCaskill is the 73rd freshman to start for the Lady Bulldogs during Andy Landers' 35 seasons at UGA. Of those, she is the 23rd to start the season opener. Merritt Hempe has reached double figures in the scoring column in both 2012 and 2013 games against Presbyterian. Khaalidah Miller equaled her career high with 11 rebounds. She also collected 11 boards against both Ole Miss on Jan. 22, 2012 and Appalachian State on Dec. 22, 2011. Khaalidah Miller also matched her career high with six assists. She also produced a half-dozen baskets-to-be against South Carolina on Feb. 16, 2012. In addition, Khaalidah Miller tied her career high with 40 minutes played. This marked the 13th time in her career at Georgia that she has logged 40 minutes in a game.
LADY BULLDOGS IN DOUBLE DIGITS
Merritt Hempe scored 10 points, her first double-digit scoring output of the season and the third of her career. Khaalidah Miller grabbed 11 boards, her first double-digit rebounding effort of the season and the third of her career.