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Dec. 4, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. --- No. 6 Georgia was led by a quartet of double-digit scorers as it cruised past Mercer, 80-38, on Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
Erika Ford, Jasmine Hassell and Jasmine James each scored 12 points and Khaalidah Miller put up 10 to lead the Lady Bulldogs (10-0) to victory. This marked the fourth game of the season in which four or more Lady Bulldogs notched double-digits.
Marjorie Butler also contributed a season-high nine points. Ford and Shacobia Barbee led Georgia on the boards with six rebounds each. Barbee also recorded season- and career-highs of six steals and six assists. Anne Marie Armstrong dished out seven assists, the most by a Lady Bulldog in a single game this season.
Mercer, which dressed out only eight players due to injuries, kept the game close for the first several minutes before Georgia seized control.
"You have to give Mercer a lot of credit," said head coach Andy Landers. "They came in here beat up a little bit, and they really did a very good job in the first half. They knocked down some shots and defended us well, and while all that was going on, we left some points on the table with some missed high percentage shots. But the second half was very different. I thought we came out and executed beautifully in the half court. We put the ball in the right person's hands at the right time, and that person finished almost every single time. It was just beautiful execution to take what was a 12- or 13-point lead and to turn it in to more like a 25- or 26-point lead."
Mercer (4-3) was led by Kendra Grant, who scored 16 points, and Kate Alemann, who brought down nine rebounds.
The game started slow, with neither team taking a definitive lead. Mercer developed a 10-6 edge four minutes into the game, but a 15-2 surge put the Lady Bulldogs up 21-12. The resulting advantage was one that Georgia never relinquished.
The Lady Bulldogs didn't see another run in the first period, but did increase their lead to 34-21 before halftime.
Georgia took control of the turnover battle early, committing five turnovers and 10 steals compared to Mercer's 13 turnovers and three steals. The Lady Bulldogs scored 16 points off of turnovers in the first period, while the Bears scored none.
Georgia started the second half strong and never looked back, with a six-minute, 17-2 run that brought the score to 51-23.
The Lady Bulldogs dominated the second half and refused to allow Mercer to sink two baskets in a row. Georgia even held the Bears scoreless for seven minutes, while increasing its lead to 75-30.
In the final two minutes of the game, Mercer scored eight of its 17 second-half points. Six of those were scored on back-to-back possessions with treys by Precious Bridges.
Georgia had its most productive night of the season from behind the thee-point line, shooting 60 percent. Seven Lady Bulldogs scored on 9-of-15 three-point attempts.
The Lady Bulldogs continued to control the turnover margin in the second half. For the game, Georgia recorded eight turnovers and 18 steals, while Mercer notched 28 turnovers and five steals.
Next up, Georgia will host Lipscomb on Dec. 16 at 2:00 p.m. The game will be televised regionally on CSS.
With tonight's victory, Georgia becomes the first of 343 NCAA Division I women's teams to secure 10 wins this season.
Georgia also reaches a 10-0 mark for the eighth time in Andy Landers' 34 seasons.
UGA is now 18-12 all-time against Mercer, including 10-5 in Athens.
Jasmine James' 12-point performance gives her 1,160 career points, passing Alexis Kendrick into No. 25 among UGA's career scoring leaders. She is 14 points shy of No. 24 Angel Robinson.
Jasmine Hassell racked up 12 points tonight. She now has 1,077 career points, which moves her past Megan Darrah to No. 31 among UGA career scoring leaders. She is now 16 points from No. 30 Kara Braxton.
Khaalidah Miller hit two 3FGs tonight. She now is five behind No. 9 Alexis Kendricks among UGA career leaders.
Anne Marie Armstrong had a block tonight. She now is nine shy of No. 10 Wanda Holloway among UGA career leaders.
Marjorie Butler posted a season- and career-high nine points.
Lady Bulldogs In Double Digits
Jasmine James' 12 point game is the seventh time she has scored in double digits this season and the 59th time in her career.
Jasmine Hassell notched 12 points, it is her seventh time this season in double digits and the 50th time in her career.
Khaalidah Miller tallied 10 points, for her fifth double-digit performance of the season and the 42nd time in her career.
Erika Ford scored 12 points, this is her third time this season in double digits and the eighth time in her career.
Georgia Head Coach Andy Landers
On tonight's game:
"You have to give Mercer a lot of credit. They came in here beat up a little bit, and they really did a very good job in the first half. They knocked down some shots and defended us well, and while all that was going on, we left some points on the table with some missed high percentage shots. But the second half was very different. I thought we came out and executed beautifully in the half court. We put the ball in the right person's hands at the right time, and that person finished almost every single time. It was just beautiful execution to take what was a 12- or 13-point lead and to turn it in to more like a 25- or 26-point lead."
On dishing out 22 assists while only committing eight turnovers:
"We didn't turn it over much. We took care of the ball and did a nice job with that. I thought Marjorie Butler did a nice job of that. Jasmine James is playing great. She's rarely making mistakes, and she's making good decisions and taking care of the ball like it's hers. It's really impressive. But then to see the freshmen come in, like Butler, and make good decisions and run our offense. She picked the times tonight when she could get the ball to the rim, and she really did a nice job."
On Erika Ford's rebounding effort tonight:
"She slithers. She's like a snake going out there. She kind of slithers in, and she has a nose for the basketball. She does a very, very good job there."
Mercer Head Coach Susie Gardner
On tonight's game:
"I was really pleased with our girls in the first half. We battled and we hit some shots, but I thought Georgia out-rebounded us in the first half. I knew, after playing for Coach Landers, that he was going to get on them pretty good at halftime. I thought Teanna Robinson did a pretty good job defending (Jasmine) Hassell in the first half because she only had six (points), but their game plan obviously was to go to her in the second half, and she played great. Georgia hit a lot of threes. I don't think that's necessarily their M.O., but they hit a lot of threes on us, and they're bigger, quicker, stronger and faster than us. They're very, very good, and I think they'll go far in the NCAA Tournament this year."
On coaching against her former coach, Andy Landers:
"I've done it many times now at Austin Peay, Arkansas and Florida so I've been around the block a few times. I've come back several times, so it's not quite as intimidating as it used to be. I come back now with the intention of trying to win, but I knew tonight was going to be tough. We came here with five injured players at home, so at some point I hope that we can build Mercer up to the point where this will be a good in-state rivalry. It's special to come back because Coach (Landers) is the coach. That's the main reason for me to come back and play Georgia is because Coach Landers is still here."