Our Lady Bulldogs watched the Gamecocks celebrate their first outright SEC championship as they dropped a game they desperately needed to win in Columbia. Here’s the official game recap, courtesy of Georgiadogs.com:
COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 4 South Carolina opened up a double-digit lead midway through the first half and maintained a comfortable margin the rest of the evening en route to a 67-56 victory over Georgia on Thursday evening at Colonial Life Arena.
Erika Ford scored 17 points to lead Georgia (18-10, 6-9 SEC), while Shacobia Barbee added 14.
Tiffany Mitchell paced South Carolina (26-2, 14-1 SEC).
The Lady Bulldogs missed their first five shots from the field as South Carolina opened up a 6-0 lead 3:04 into the game. Georgia trimmed the margin to 12-7 on an old-fashioned 3-point play by Halle Washington but then failed on three opportunities to cut further into the lead. Carolina responded with a 10-0 run over the next 3:29 to build a 22-7 lead with 7:35 left in the period.
"The first three of four minutes of the game were really our undoing," head coach Andy Landers said. "We turned the ball over and settled for 3-pointers."
The Gamecocks’ first-half lead topped out at 28-12 before Georgia cut that to a dozen at the break.
South Carolina made only one more field goal than the Lady Bulldogs in the period but converted on 12-of-12 trips to the line. Mitchell did much of the damage, scoring 16 points before intermission by making 5-of-7 shots from the floor and all six attempts at the line.
A Ford 3-pointer to open the second-half scoring got the Lady Bulldogs within nine and a pair of Khaalidah Miller free throws made it 32-25 with 17:17 left. Georgia forced a defensive stop but turned the ball over on its next possession, resulting in a breakaway layup by Khadijah Sessions. South Carolina pushed the margin back to 13 points just over a minute later.
"We played with more energy to start the second half and make a run and then we do the same things that we did at the start of the game," Landers said. "I think we had it to six or seven and then we let them get it back to 12. It’s frustrating."
Georgia actually made four more field goals and three more 3-pointers than South Carolina. The Gamecocks scored 30 points at the line, however, connecting on 30-of-38 trips to the stripe.
Georgia will wrap up its 2013-14 regular-season schedule on Sunday when Mississippi State travels to Stegeman Coliseum for a 1:00 p.m. match-up. That contest will serve as "Senior Day" for the Lady Bulldogs, with Khaalidah Miller honored in pre-game ceremonies. In addition, the first 500 fans in attendance will receive replica Lady Bulldog jersey t-shirts.
We’ll have a Georgia/Mississippi State preview posted right here sometime during the day on Saturday.