The Georgia women‚Äôs basketball team held off a late-game surge by LSU en route to a 71-67 win over the 19th-ranked Lady Tigers on Thursday night.¬†
Georgia (18-8, 6-7 Southeastern Conference) got out to a hot start in the first half, holding its largest lead of the game, 18 points, with just less than 10 minutes to play. The momentum would shift soon for the Lady Tigers (18-8, 7-6 SEC), though. After a hard-fought second half by LSU, Georgia clung to a two-point lead in the final minutes of the game.
That‚Äôs when Georgia‚Äôs Erika Ford went off.¬†
‚ÄúShe was just terrific,‚Äù Georgia coach Andy Landers said. ‚ÄúShe can play off the bounce, and when you can play off the bounce in basketball it makes you hard to guard.‚Äù
The junior guard from Alpharetta was hard for LSU to guard indeed.
She finished the game with 20 points, a majority of which came in the final minutes of Georgia‚Äôs win.¬†
‚ÄúI just wanted to win,‚Äù Ford said. ‚ÄúCoach drew up some plays for me and I just executed and hit the shots.‚Äù
Ford, who had just four points in the first half, hit six of her eight shot attempts in the second half.¬†
One key to the Lady Bulldogs‚Äô early success against LSU was rebounding. Georgia outrebounded LSU 20-13 in the first half, but the Lady Tigers held a 32-30 advantage on the glass at the end of the game.
Theresa Plaisance, a senior from New Orleans, entered the game leading the Lady Tigers in rebounding with 7.3 per game. She was held to just two in the first half and ended the game with eight. The 6-foot-5 forward also led her team in scoring through prior games this season with 14.5 a game, but was held to eight in the first half. Plaisance‚Äôs scoring presence would eventually resurface as she led the Lady Tigers in scoring with 29 on the night.¬†
‚ÄúI think they were just looking for her a lot more,‚Äù Georgia guard Shacobia Barbee said. ‚ÄúI think our posts did the best they could do on her. We were doubling down and she was still scoring.‚Äù¬†
Georgia, however, had rebounding efforts from an array of its players throughout the game. Barbee had eight boards in the first half alone. Barbee ended the game with nine rebounds to add to her 13 points and five assists. The sophomore from Murfreesboro, Tenn., puts a great deal of focus on rebounding, and everything else for that matter.¬†
‚ÄúI take a lot of pride, you know,‚Äù Barbee said. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs extra possessions for our team on the offensive board or just getting an extra possession for our team from defensive rebounds.‚Äù
LSU‚Äôs point guard Jeanne Kenney was picking up any slack her teammates were dragging in the first half. Kenney, a senior from Baton Rouge, scored 14 points in the first half, hitting on four of five attempts from beyond the arc. Kenney finished the game with 17 points. ¬† ¬†
The Lady Dogs will be back in action on Sunday as they take on Auburn at 3 p.m. in Auburn Arena.