Jasmine Hassell had 14 points, nine rebounds and one block to lead the No. 10 Georgia women’s basketball team to a 66-38 win over Presbyterian College on Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
The Lady Dogs (2-0) knew they faced tough competition in a Presbyterian team that knocked off Clemson on Sunday but found a way to dominate in nearly every category en route to a victory.
“We just executed the game plan that we were given,” Hassell said. “You have to be balanced to win games.”
And balanced they were. The Lady Bulldogs had more than twice as many free-throws opportunities as the Blue Hose (1-1), had 40 rebounds to the Blue Hose’s 38 — including a 14-7 advantage on the offensive glass — and recorded 27 takeaways compared to Presbyterian’s 13.
Georgia’s bench play was crucial, as well, accounting for 35 of its 66 points. Freshman Merrit Hempe led the second-teamers with 11 points, two assists and three blocks.
Georgia’s five bench players combined for more minutes than the starting five, a strategy that Georgia coach Andy Landers said is designed to allow those on the court to give maximum effort.
“You need to get to where you can maximize five minutes and see how much you can get done,” he said.
The starters appreciated it, too, knowing that they can come out for a rest, and the team wont lose any ground.
“We’re very proud of (the players off the bench),” Hassell said. “They get it and want to do well. We feed off them, and they feed off us.”
Both teams started the game relatively slowly, but Georgia gradually began to pull away, due in part to the strong bench play and tough defense. The game was never really in doubt after the first few minutes, but the Lady Dogs all but sealed their victory with a 17-5 run in the final 8:38 of the first half, going into the locker room with a 35-18 lead.
Georgia continued its dominance at the start of the second half, going on an 11-5 run in the first 4:45.
Mariah Pietrowski led Presbyterian with six points, one assist and two steals, but the turnovers were too much to overcome in the end.
Presbyterian was just coming off of a big win but knew that this would be a tough matchup.
“They’ve obviously got a very good basketball team, and they’ve got a very good coach,” Presbyterian coach Ronny Fisher said. “That’s a deadly combination.”
Georgia plays again at 7 p.m. Friday when it hosts South Carolina State.