Khaalidah Miller saw something she hadn’t seen in a while after the Georgia women’s basketball game on Thursday night.
AJ Reynolds/Staff, @ajreynoldsphoto
Georgia players celebrate after the second half of the NCAA college basketball game between Georgia and Arkansas in Athens, Ga., Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. Georgia won 60-58.
The Lady Bulldogs huddled at center court in Stegeman Coliseum following a 60-58 win over Arkansas.
“I haven’t seen anyone smile that much since four or five games ago,” Miller said. “It felt good to get that win.”
The victory snapped a four game losing streak and gave the Lady Bulldogs their first Southeastern Conference win of the season. But it came in dramatic fashion.
Georgia led as much as 14 in the game, but allowed Arkansas to come within one point in the final two minutes before the teams exchanged fouls and free throws, allowing Georgia to pull out the two-point win.
Shacobia Barbee, who came off the bench for Georgia and finished with 17 points, six rebounds, three steals and three assists, hit five free throws in the final 1:46 to keep the Razorbacks (14-4, 1-4 SEC) at bay.
“She’s a kid who can make plays on both ends of the floor,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said. “There aren’t very many of those. There’s great defensive players, crafty offensive players, but those don’t usually come wrapped in the same box. She’s a playmaker.”
Though Georgia turned the ball over 21 times, they shot 44.4 percent from the field and hit 60.9 percent of their free throws, which came into play at the end as the teams went back and forth calling timeouts in the final minutes.
“I just remember him consistently saying, ‘We’re OK, we’re OK,’” Miller said of Landers in the closing minutes. “He just kept trying to keep our heads in the right place so that we keep fighting and just keep running our offense the way we’re supposed to.”
Miller, along with Halle Washington, fouled out for Georgia and the team rolled up 22 total team fouls. Krista Donald chalked it up to physical basketball, both teams scrapping for an SEC win.
“That was a big game for both of us, so we had to push through it,” she said.
The Lady Bulldogs (13-5, 1-4 SEC) travel to Gainesville on Sunday to face Florida, trying to avoid another bump in the conference schedule. Miller said the team is starting to gel a bit more, though it still has some rough edges to clean up, like cutting back on turnovers and hitting more of its free throws.
“I think we’re definitely starting to get that chemistry back,” Miller said. “It gave us a big boost tonight.”