ATHENS, Ga.----The Georgia Lady Bulldogs used a powerful first half performance to systematically pull away from the visiting Ole Miss Rebels 84-63 at Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. The win pushes Georgia to 16-7 overall and 4-6 in conference play.
Georgia was led in the scoring column by Erika Ford who collected 16 points, she was joined in double digits by Shacobia Barbee (14 points), Khaalidah Miller and Tiaria Griffin (13 apiece) and Merritt Hempe (10 points). Miller and Barbee led the Lady Bulldogs in their rebounding effort as they grabbed 7 boards each. Miller continued her recent sharing streak as she tied her career high with six assists.
The 84 points the Lady Bulldogs recorded was their highest points total in SEC play, surpassing the 70 points they scored against Tennessee. It was also Georgia's highest scoring output since Dec. 15 when it scored 91 points against Kennesaw State.
Georgia opened up an early lead built on the Lady Bulldogs dominate defense that has become something of a calling card for the Lady Bulldogs. The home team was able to stretch its lead to 11-2 on a deep 3-point bomb from Khaalidah Miller.
The visiting Rebels however were able to trim the lead to just three points on a Tia Faleru layup; however that Ole Miss fight back just seemed to spur the Lady Bulldogs forward. From the 10:23 mark to 5:32 left in the first half Georgia went on an 11-0 run that extended the lead from 21-18 to 32-18.
The Lady Bulldogs finished the first period in style as Miller hit another long 3-pointer from the corner with 30 seconds left on the clock then, after Amber Singletary answered with a 3 of her own for the Rebels, Erika Ford nailed a deep ball at the buzzer to give Georgia a 48-29 lead at the half.
Georgia's offensive output in the first half was spearheaded by Miller and Ford who managed to notch 11 points apiece including 5 combined 3-pointers. Miller provided a large portion of Georgia's rebounding output for the half as she grabbed 7 boards and also dished three dimes to lead the home team in the first stanza.
The Lady Bulldogs' momentum continued into the early portion of the second half as Tiaria Griffin and Ford added two more 3-pointers as the home five found an offensive groove in the opening few minutes. The Lady Bulldogs stretched the lead to 23 points on Griffin's 3-pointer and kept their foot on the gas with a Hempe layup and Barbee free throw establishing the lead at 62-36 with 14:36 left in the contest.
The offensive rhythm continued for the Lady Bulldogs as they produced their best offensive performance of the calendar year. Georgia hit four 3-pointers in the second half including one by Krista Donald, her first deep ball since the Jan. 19 win over Florida.
The Lady Bulldogs were led in second period scoring by Barbee who notched 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Barbee and Halle Washington grabbed four second stanza rebounds.
Georgia returns to action Thursday night as it takes the long road trip to College Station, Texas to face Texas A&M. The game will tip-off at 8 PM ET.
The Lady Bulldogs return home next Sunday, February 16 as they welcome Florida to Stegeman Coliseum. The game will tip off at 1 PM ET.