Georgia played like it wanted to turn Andy Landers’ march toward 800 wins into a sprint.
The Lady Bulldogs ended any suspense early as it rolled over Belmont in the first half and rolled to a 70-38 win on Sunday at Stegeman Coliseum.
The win gives Landers No. 799 in his 34-year career at Georgia. He’ll have a shot at No. 800 on Tuesday against Savannah State in Stegeman Coliseum. It will also be Georgia’s fourth game in an eight-day stretch.
“It was really big to jump on top early,” Georgia guard Erika Ford said. “We all get tired and we all get sore. But with the kind of games that we’ve been playing, our minutes have been low. It was really good to get out and jump on them early so that everybody can get in and play and share the minutes.”
No. 10-ranked Georgia (4-0) didn’t waste any time jumping on top of Belmont (1-3). The Lady Bulldogs scored 19 of the fist 21 points in the game and led 40-12 at halftime.
“Not playing many minutes is like, new to us,” Georgia forward Jasmine Hassell said. “It’s a great thing to be able to know that you can play your hardest and then get to come out and get a break. It feels really good.”
Hassell finished with game-high 17 points and a team-high 10 rebounds in just 16 minutes of play. Jasmine James added 10 points and played just 21 minutes. Nobody on Georgia played more than Ford’s 22 minutes. Every Lady Bulldog who played also scored.
“It’s huge to be able to substitute like that,” James said. “We’ve got a pretty long stretch of games that we’re going through the past couple of days and we’ve got quite a few coming up. The minutes for the most part are pretty even with the substituting. We’re getting everybody in and everybody out to get some rest. It’s great because it will work out for us in the long run and you won’t have too many people getting run down.”
Jordan Coleman led Belmont with nine points and 11 rebounds. She scored the first bucket of the game to give the Bruins a short-lived 2-0 lead. But Georgia’s defense forced 11 straight missed shots and six turnovers as it ran off 19 straight points to take a 19-2 lead. Hassell scored five points and Merritt Hempe added four in the 19-0 run. Georgia eventually went on a 31-4 run in the first half and Belmont never made a dent in the lead.
“I thought it was a fairly complete game and that’s hard to do against anybody,” Landers said. “We were very good defensively. We made them miss. We dominated the defensive board and they got no second-chance opportunities. I keep going back to that 30-4 run in the first half. Because we dominated the defensive boards we were able to run. We were able to run, run, run, run over and over. I don’t think we ran sets more than six times today. It was all transition.”
Georgia out-rebounded Belmont 53-29, including 16 offensive rebounds that turned into 15 second-chance points. Georgia forced 14 turnovers that converted into 21 points. The Lady Bulldogs held Belmont to 16 of 56 (28.6 percent) field goal shooting and only took five free throws, hitting three.
“I think that Georgia is a very good basketball team,” Belmont coach Brittney Ezell said. “I think that they’re able to beat you from all five positions and they’re very impressive. I like the fight in our team in the second half. We came out a little bit shell shocked, some shots didn’t fall early and getting behind on a team like Georgia is not something you can overcome very easily. Georgia played a great game.”
Belmont went scoreless for 9:34 of the first half and didn’t get its second bucket of the game until Blair Bryce hit a jumper with 9:05 left in the first half.
Georgia showed complete dominance in the first half as its defense held Belmont to 5 of 25 (20 percent) field goal shooting, outrebounded the Bruins 32-14 and forced 11 turnovers that the Lady Bulldogs converted to 16 points.
Georgia played its third date in a four-game, eight day stretch leading into Thanksgiving. As has been the pattern for the first two dates, Landers substituted liberally, sometimes swapping five at a time, and all the active Lady Bulldogs played.
Notes: Landers has 881 wins in his career, including a four-year stint at two-year Roane College. …. Georgia guard Danielle Bennett missed her third straight game with an eye infection. … Hassell is 10 points shy of No. 1,000 for her career. … Hassell’s mother Gail Corder-Hassell played at Belmont and finished her career as the Bruins’ top career scorer. … Belmont did not have a steal on Sunday and Georgia only had eight turnovers.