Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lady Dawgs Defeat Mercer

BASKETBALL

The 25th-ranked Georgia women’s basketball team shot 54 percent and had five players in double figures in a 92-45 win over in-state rival Mercer Tuesday evening in historic Stegeman Coliseum.

Freshman Khaalidah Miller notched a career-high 16 points to lead the Lady Dawg brigade, adding five assists and two steals in 26 minutes off the bench. Miller was backed by 13 points each from Meredith Mitchell and Porsha Phillips, 11 from Tamika Willis, and 10 from Anne Marie Armstrong.

Mitchell’s output was a season-high effort for junior.

In her first career start, freshman Ronika Ransford logged a career-high in rebounds (11), steals (7), and assists (6) in a career night. Ransford became the 66th freshman to start for Andy Landers during his 32 seasons in Athens.

The Lady Dawgs (7-2) out rebounded the Bears by a count of 49-27. Mercer’s Kendra Grant (14) and Briana Williams (10) found double digits for the visitors, who fall to 1-7 on the year.

“There is some improvement in the defense,” said head coach Andy Landers. “You have to be careful. What can take place is like an electrical surge. It brightens the lights and flashes, but then it goes away. The play has to be consistent and at the same level every time we take the floor.

“Our bench played reasonably well. The two freshmen held up and played a lot of minutes at the guard position. I thought Arieal Johnson came in and played well and was effective. You would expect them to. We’ve been going three deep on that bench. Ebony Jones continues to improve.”

The Lady Dawgs were already up double-digits, an 11-point margin, at 15-4 with 12:14 to go when Ransford stepped up for a jumper off a pass from Jasmine James. Following a Mercer bucket with 10:55 to go in the opener, Georgia kicked off a 12-0 run that established the lead at 23, 29-6, with 8:38 left. A three for James with 2:52 left put the home team up by the half’s largest margin of 26, at 42-16, and Miller closed out a strong first-half effort with a jumper with 32 seconds left to put Georgia up 23, 47-24 heading into the break.

Willis led Georgia with nine points in just five minutes of action through the first 20:00, followed by Ransford and Jasmine Hassell each with eight.

The Lady Dawgs continued to show off solid fundamentals after halftime, pushing it to a 30-point lead, 58-28, on a Miller jump shot following the freshman’s steal down the other end. Georgia strung together another run of 7-0 to take a 39-point lead, 78-39, with 7:41 on the clock as Mitchell capped it with a free throw. During that stretch Mitchell put in two layups and Georgia forced Mercer into a pair of turnovers.

Miller closed the game strong, sinking a three with 32 seconds left and adding a layup after a steal from her classmate Ransford that closed out the contest with the Lady Dawgs owning their largest lead of the game at 47, 92-45, with 18 ticks remaining.

Georgia finished the day leading 54-8 on points in the paint and getting 50 from its bench. The 92-point output was its highest of the season, the next closest the 84 points scored vs. Indiana on Nov. 21. Incidentally, it is Georgia’s highest point total since dropping 93 on Presbyterian on Jan. 2, 2008. The 45 points conceded to the Bears is the second fewest this season behind only the 43 put up by Georgia Southern in the season opener on Nov. 14.

The Lady Dawgs improve to 16-12 all-time vs. Mercer, including 9-5 when playing at home, and have won 15 of the last 16 dates. Tonight was just the second meeting between these teams in the last 15 years.

Tonight’s game completed a busy couple of weeks as Georgia closed out a run of nine games in 23 days. The Lady Dawgs will now head for a 12-day break from action as the team takes final exams.

Georgia will get back to it on Sun., Dec. 19, hosting High Point for a 2 p.m. showdown in Stegeman Coliseum.

Notes
•       Georgia has now won 14 straight games in the series with Mercer.
•       Mercer’s head coach, Susie Gardner, was a four-year letter winner on Lady Dawgs teams in the mid-80s that won the 1983, 1984 and 1986 SEC titles, reached the 1983 Final Four and finished as NCAA runner-up in 1985.
•       Georgia’s tally of 92 points was the most by the Lady Dawgs since a 93-49 victory over Presbyterian on Jan. 2, 2008.
•       With a win tonight, the Lady Dawgs improve to a staggering 423-7 when scoring 80 or more points during Andy Landers’ 32 seasons as Georgia’s head coach.
•       The Lady Dawgs are now six wins shy of 800 all-time victories in intercollegiate play.
•       With the win tonight, Andy Landers is 11 wins shy of his 850th career victory as a collegiate head coach.
•       With tonight’s game, Porsha Phillips has now surpassed No. 9 Wanda Holloway (104) among UGA’s career leaders in blocks. Phillips had two blocks in the game and now has 105 in two-plus seasons at Georgia. She is 14 shy of the No. 8 tally of Tasha Humphrey (219).
•       Ronika Ransford became the 66th freshman to start for Landers at Georgia. That ledger also includes current Lady Dawgs Meredith Mitchell, Anne Marie Armstrong, Jasmine Hassell and Jasmine James.
•       Khaalidah Miller ended tonight’s game with a season- and career-high five assists.
•       Ronika Ransford ended tonight’s game with a season- and career-highs for rebounds (11), steals (six) and assists (five).

Double-Digit Lady Bulldogs
•       Meredith Mitchell scored double digits tonight with 13 points; her second of the season and 15th of her career.
•       Porsha Phillips scored double digits tonight with 13 points; her seventh of the season and 44th of her career.
•       Khaalidah Miller scored double digits tonight with 16 points; her second of the season and second of her career.
•       Anne Marie Armstrong scored double digits tonight with 10 points; her third of the season and ninth of her career.
•       Tamika Willis scored double digits tonight with 11 points; her second of the season and second of her career.
•       Ronika Ransford earned double digits in rebounds tonight with 11; her first of the season and first of her career.

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