ATHENS, Ga. - No. 23 Georgia used a 26-2 run spanning the first and second halves en route to claiming a 72-48 victory over Furman on Tuesday evening at Stegeman Coliseum. Three players scored in double figures for the Lady Bulldogs, led by a career-high 21 points and a career-high six steals from sophomore guard Tiaria Griffin.
With the win, Georgia improves to a perfect 4-0 on the season, while Furman drops to 1-3 overall.
"First of all, I have to give credit to Furman in the first half," said Georgia head coach Andy Landers. "They obviously had scouted us and thought that zone was the route for them to take tonight. They had schemed it out - it was well-conceived, it was well-executed, and it hampered us a good bit...We defended and rebounded (well). When our guards rebound the ball, we can blow it out pretty quick, and we did."
Griffin surpassed her previous career best of 20 points, set last season against Alabama. Her former career high of three steals came twice last season against Missouri (Jan. 3, 2013) and Lipscomb (Dec. 16, 2012).
Starters Krista Donald and Khaalidah Miller also scored in double figures for Georgia, chipping in with 13 and 12 points, respectively. It marked the third straight game with double-figure scoring for Miller, as the senior from Atlanta became the 35th 1,000-point scorer in Georgia history.
Donald turned in her second consecutive double-double,snagging 10 rebounds on the evening to go along with her 13 points. Ford also dished out a career-high five assists, surpassing her previous top mark of four, recorded almost exactly one year ago, on Nov. 20, against Savannah State.
Sophomore Kaelyn Causwell scored a career-high eight points in just four minutes of play, going a perfect 3-for-3 from the field while knocking down a pair of free throws. Her previous career high of seven points also came last season against Savannah State.
The game proved to be a tale of two halves, as Furman shot 44 percent in the first half before shooting just 25 percent in the second half. Conversely, Georgia was held to 31 percent from the floor in the opening period before knocking down 18 of 36 field goal attempts in the second half for a 50 percent clip.
The Paladins opened the game on a 7-0 run in the first two and a half minutes of play before Georgia got on the board with five straight points from Griffin. The Lady Bulldogs would close to within one at 9-8 with just under 15 minutes remaining in the half, but Furman responded with a 22-6 run over the next 10 minutes to open up a 31-14 advantage.
Georgia then reeled off eight straight points to close the half, including a key steal by Ford in the closing seconds that led to a layup for Griffin. The score trimmed the Furman lead to nine at 31-22 entering the break.
Georgia's offensive firepower continued in the second half, as the Lady Bulldogs opened the period with 18 straight points, sparked by seven points from Donald during the span. Georgia held Furman without a basket in the second half until the 12:30 mark off a layup from Brittany Hodges.
The Lady Bulldogs would continue to pull away, eventually opening up their largest lead of 26 points with just over three minutes remaining.
Georgia outscored Furman 44-14 in the paint and 18-0 in transition points, while also scoring 31 points off of 22 Paladin turnovers. The Lady Bulldogs outrebounded the Paladins 45-30 and shot a season-best 74 percent from the free-throw line.
Georgia will play its penultimate game of a six-game homestand on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. in Stegeman Coliseum against in-state rival Georgia Tech.
Georgia remains undefeated against Furman with a 10-0 all-time mark, including 6-0 in Athens. This was Georgia's second contest in a 53-hour span and fourth since the season opener nine days ago. The Lady Bulldogs are undefeated thus far in their 2013-14 home-opening campaign with two games left to play. Georgia faced Furman a year ago on Nov. 28, 2012, a game that featured momentum swings that were mirrored Tuesday night. Last year, Furman jumped to an early 11-7 lead, but Georgia responded with a 16-2 run before going on to win 83-47. On Tuesday, Georgia quickly fell to 14-31 deficit, but answered with a 29-2 streak on their way to outscoring the Paladins 50-17 in the second half. With 12 points on the night, Khaalidah Miller became the program's 35th 1,000-point scorer. After tonight's double-digit scoring performance, she has recorded 1,002 points in her career. In her season debut, Tiaria Griffin scored 21 points, setting a new career-high. This was the second 20-point game of her career, the first coming against Alabama on Jan. 10, 2013. Krista Donald posted her second-consecutive double-double of the season and the fourth of her career. Tiaria Griffin set her season and career-high number of steals with six on the night. Erika Ford notched five assists for a new season and career-high record. Kaelyn Causwell recorded a career-high eight points on the night.
Lady Bulldogs In Double Digits
Tiaria Griffin scored 21 points in her season debut, recording the 11th double-digit scoring performance of her career. Khaalidah Miller scored 12, her third double-figuring scoring output this season and the 52nd of her career. Krista Donald scored 13 points for her second consecutive double-digit scoring output of the season. Krista Donald grabbed 10 boards, her second double-figure rebounding effort of the season and the fourth of her career.
Georgia Head Coach Andy Landers
On tonight's game...
"First of all I have to give credit to Furman in the first half. We were expecting man to man. That's all we've seen them play. They obviously had scouted us and thought that zone was the route for them to take tonight. In the first half, they really played it well. They had schemed it out, it was well conceived, it was well executed and it hampered us a good bit. And then when we were able to execute, we missed good shots, so consequently we're in a hole because they're shooting lights out from three. And I'm not sure we did a lot of things wrong in defending them. When we came back after the half, defense stayed at a high level, rebounding went up and they started to miss."
On Tiaria Griffin's performance...
"Tiaria played well in her first time out this year. I thought she was good but made a couple of decisions I'm sure she'd like to have back. She made a couple of careless ball handling mistakes ,but she shot the ball well and defended superbly."
On what Georgia did well in the game...
"We defended and we rebounded. When our guards rebound the ball, we can blow it out pretty quick, and they did. When we can defend and get fingers on the ball and get into an open, broken floor that's probably when we're at our best."
Furman Head Coach Jackie Carson
On tonight's game...
"We knew they were going to play fast. They didn't do anything different, but I think we were different in the second half. We looked tired and they capitalized on all of our turnovers. We didn't hit the shots we had hit in the first half and there was just no energy. It was a tale of two halves."
On Georgia's success in the paint...
"We were already one post player down and we're banged up in the post. When we got into foul trouble, that diminished us early. And Georgia's height is outstanding. They get offensive rebounds. We weren't able to box out in the second half."