No. 16 Lady Bulldogs easily top Belmont

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ‚Äî The No. 16 Georgia women’s basketball team raced to an 18-0 lead in the opening minutes en route to an 81-55 victory over Belmont on Thursday night in Nashville.

Tiaria Griffin paced Georgia (9-0) with 20 points off the bench, while Khaalidah Miller added 15 points, Merritt Hempe equaled her career high with 13 points and Krista Donald chipped in 10. Shacobia Barbee added a solid linescore of six points, six rebounds and game-high efforts of five assists and four steals. Lauren Thompson led Belmont (3-7) with 10 points.

“I thought we started well,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said in a release. “I thought we had good energy defensively, I thought we were disruptive and put them on their heels a little bit and then we made a lot of shots. Overall, the first half, you’d probably give it an A-minus. You scored it, you defended it well, you shot it well from the floor. It was a very good first half. A lot of people played. A lot of people came in and plugged right in. There was no drop in performance, which underscores that we have a good bench, particularly on the perimeter. The second half, was a little spotty.”

Donald scored the game’s first points on a short jumper just over a minute into the contest and four other Lady Bulldogs scored as Georgia built its 18-0 advantage.

Belmont posted its first points on a Katie Carroll 3-pointer with 13:38 left in the first half. Georgia eventually enjoyed its most productive and efficient first half of the season en route to a 45-23 lead at the intermission. The Lady Bulldogs’ point total topped their previous high of 42 against Belmont.

Georgia shot 58.1 percent from the field in the period. The Lady Bulldogs pushed their lead to 27 points less than four minutes into the second stanza. Belmont pulled with 18 points with 8:15 remaining, but Georgia responded with a Griffin 3-pointer.

The lead topped out at 28 points with less than a minute remaining. Georgia shot season-best percentages of 58.2 from the floor, 44.4 from 3-point range and 75.0 from the free throw line. The Lady Bulldogs equaled their season high with eight 3-pointers.

The Bruins are coached by former Lady Bulldog assistant coach Cam Newbuaer, and Jon Bollier, Georgia’s operations coordinator for the past three years, is an assistant coach on the Belmont staff.

Georgia will return to action on Sunday when the Lady Bulldogs host Kennesaw State at Stegeman Coliseum at 2 p.m.

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