ATLANTA, Ga. --- No. 22 Georgia used a 12-0 second-half run to finally seize control en route to a 70-58 victory over Georgia State in the championship game of GSU's Thanksgiving Invitational on Sunday afternoon.
Erika Ford and Tiaria Griffin led the Lady Bulldogs (8-0) with 14 points apiece. Krista Donald chipped in 12 points and Shacobia Barbee added a double-double of 12 points and 14 rebounds, as well as game-high tallies of seven steals and six assists.
"We did what need to do to win on a day when we didn't play our best basketball," head coach Andy Landers said. "You have to credit Georgia State with some of that. They had a good game plan and executed it well. Most of all, at the beginning of the game they hit shots that put us on our heels. We hung in there and then made enough plays to win a tough, tough game."
Griffin, who scored 19 points in a first-round win over George Washington, was tabbed the tournament's Most Valuable Player, while Barbee joined her on the all-tournament team.
Georgia State (2-6) led 51-44 with 12:11 remaining after a Kendra Long 3-pointer. That gave Long 22 points on the day but represented her last bucket of the contest.
The Lady Bulldogs tied the score 2:21 later on a pair of Donald free throws. Barbee assisted a Griffin bucket that gave Georgia the lead for good 53-51.
After the lead reached five points, the Panthers pulled within three twice, lastly on a layup by Ashanti Groover with 5:35 on the clock. A Griffin 3-pointer from the right corner put the Lady Bulldogs up by six and Georgia closed out the contest on a 12-3 run thereafter.
Georgia State started the game quickly, scoring the game's first six point over the opening 2:02 and leading for much of the remainder of the half. The Lady Bulldogs grabbed their first lead at 14-13 on a Donald layup at the 12:13 mark but the Panthers answered with a 9-0 run to regain a 22-14 edge.
A Ford 3-pointer started a 14-0 push over the next 6:56 that put Georgia up 26-22, but State again responded. Long scored 10 of her 19 first-half points over the final 6:01 to give the Panthers a 37-33 lead at the intermission.
Georgia State is coached by Sharon Baldwin-Tener, who played for the Lady Bulldogs from 1988-90 and was an assistant coach on the Georgia staff from 1992-1998.
The Lady Bulldogs will now enjoy a 10-day break from competition while Final Exams for the Fall Semester are administered on the UGA campus. Georgia will return to action on Thursday, Dec. 12, when the Lady Bulldogs face Belmont in Nashville.