Dec. 21, 2013
PISCATAWAY, N.J. --- Khaalidah Miller's 30-foot, 3-point attempt to tie the game drew front iron at the final horn, thwarting a furious Georgia rally and preserving a 61-58 upset for Rutgers over the 16th-ranked Lady Bulldogs at The RAC on Saturday afternoon.
The defeat snapped Georgia's 11-game winning streak to open the season which equaled the seventh-best start in the program's history.
"I'm proud of the fact that we didn't fold," head coach Andy Landers said. "They were handing it to us the first five or six minutes. We kind of got our balance and played well the rest of the way. We came up short but give credit to Rutgers."
The Lady Bulldogs trailed 59-52 with 37 seconds remaining following a Kahleah Copper lay-up.
Shacobia Barbee nailed a 3-pointer with 21 ticks left to pull Georgia within four. After Syessence Davis missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Barbee hit another 3 with seven seconds on the clock to close the gap to 59-58. Tyler Scaife made two free throws a second later to push the margin back to three before Miller's buzzer-beating attempt to force overtime rimmed off.
Barbee finished with a season-high 18 points, 17 of those coming in the second half. Miller chipped in 11 points and Krista Donald grabbed a game-high 11 boards for Georgia (11-1).
Copper and Betnijah Laney both scored 18 points to pace Rutgers (9-2).
The end of the game wasn't the Lady Bulldogs' only rally.
Rutgers raced to a 9-0 lead as Georgia struggled to get anything going offensively. The Lady Bulldogs turned the ball over on their first seven possessions and did not even attempt a shot until the 15:41 mark of the first half.
Erika Ford finally got Georgia on the board with a jumper with 14:00 left in the opening period.
After Rutgers built a 21-11, the Lady Bulldogs used a 12-4 surge to close the gap to 25-23 and then knotted the score at 27-27 on a Miller 3-pointer with 1:59 on the clock. After Miller missed a lay-up in transition that would have give Georgia its first lead, the Scarlet Knights scored the final four points of the half.
"I was obviously disappointed with the way we started the game," Landers said. "We dug ourselves a deep hole, but we fought out of it and after that opening series played reasonably well."
Georgia entered the game averaging 15.0 turnovers per game but committed 14 in the first half alone against the Scarlet Knights, which led to 13 Rutgers points.
The Lady Bulldogs grabbed their first lead of the day at 38-37 with 12:57 left on a pair of Donald free throws. Rutgers regained the lead on a Briyona Canty jumper 34 seconds later. Georgia last led following a 3-point play by Tiaria Griffin made it 46-45.
A pair of Copper free throws opened a 14-6 run over the next 6:25 to seemingly give Rutgers control before Barbee's heroics began.
Georgia will return to action next Saturday when the Lady Bulldogs host Illinois at Stegeman Coliseum at 4:00 p.m. That game will be televised regionally on CSS.
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.