So your humble official Fastbreak Club Web Dude misses a game tonight (PTO meeting…I’m all about the children) and the Lady Bulldogs go out and finally grab their first SEC victory of the year. Clearly, I can’t attend another game this season. Here’s the recap of tonight’s Georgia/Arkansas game, courtesy of Georgiadogs.com:
ATHENS, Ga.—-Georgia women’s basketball picked up its first conference win of the season Thursday night in dramatic fashion defeating Arkansas 60-58. While moving the Lady Bulldogs’ conference record to 1-4 it also improved their overall record to 13-5.
Georgia was led in scoring by Shacobia Barbee who scored 17 points, with Krista Donald and Marjorie Butler adding 11 and 10 points respectively. Merritt Hempe led the team in rebounding as she collected nine boards. Butler’s 11 points were a season high while her team-high 38 minutes were a career high.
The Lady Bulldogs’ ball movement was in full effect again as six of eight players to see action recorded dimes. Khaalidah Miller led this group with five while Butler and Barbee both dished three scoring passes.
Georgia clinched the game after a dramatic last few minutes that saw the Razorbacks close the gap from 10 points at the 6:09 mark to one point at 2:05 as a Calli Berna 3-pointer made the score 52-51. Some strong Georgia defense forced the Razorbacks into several key fouls later on with Barbee, Hempe and Butler hitting key free-throws down the stretch. Despite a Keira Peak 3-pointer with two seconds left, the Lady Bulldogs were able to launch a long outlet pass to Barbee that saw the last two seconds tick off the clock.
"I laugh when I say this but if they had stepped up a little earlier at the free throw line we might have not needed them to come back so late," Georgia head coach Andy Landers said. "But when the intense heat was on and the clock was running low and we needed points people went to the free throw line and made big baskets."
Butler started the second stanza with a bang as she hit a corner 3-pointer to stretch the Lady Bulldogs’ lead to double digits. The Lady Bulldog defense continued to stifle the Razorbacks early as the home team grabbed three turnovers in the first 2:06 of the period, the last of these being followed by Butler’s second 3-pointer of the half.
Butler was not the only Tennessee native giving the Lady Bulldogs a lift out of the half time break as Barbee added three points, two steals and an assist all inside the first four minutes of the period.
Despite the early momentum, Georgia’s missed shots allowed the Razorbacks back into the game with the visitors trimming the lead to 11 points. A Barbee 3-pointer after great inter-passing from Miller and Butler gave the Lady Bulldogs some breathing room just when it seemed Arkansas was preparing to make a run.
Lady Bulldog fouls kept the door open for the Razorbacks as the visitors entered the double-bonus at the 8:42 mark.
Despite the Razorbacks closing the gap to one point, a key Butler steal and foul on Barbee with 54 seconds remaining stretched Georgia’s lead back to three points, a score which proved crucial at the conclusion of the game.
Barbee scored a crucial 13 second half points while all of Butler’s 10 came in the second stanza.
After a nip-and-tuck early period the Lady Bulldogs were able to open up a lead as they held Arkansas scoreless for 7:22 in the first half between the 11:51 mark and the 4:29 point. During this stretch Georgia opened the lead to double-digits behind two buckets each for Donald, Hempe and Barbee.
Butler’s speed and decisiveness bringing the ball up court continually put the Lady Bulldogs in favorable positions as the half proved one of Georgia’s most prolific offensive periods of conference play. Butler contributed three assists and a steal to just one turnover in a joint-team high 18 minutes.
Georgia’s biggest improvement from their first four conference games was an improvement in shooting as the Lady Bulldogs hit 46.2 percent from the floor in the first half.
Hempe led Georgia in scoring in the first period with seven points, with Donald adding six more. Hempe also led in the rebounding category as she pulled down six first half boards.
The victory over Arkansas was the Lady Bulldogs last game at home for two weeks as they hit the road to face Florida on Sunday at 1 PM ET and then Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Jan. 26, at 3 PM ET. Both games will be shown live on CSS.
We’ll have a Georgia/Florida game preview posted right here sometime during the day on Saturday.