Georgia wrote a little history against Arkansas and it wasn’t Andy Landers’ inching one step closer to a coaching milestone.
The Lady Bulldogs set a school record for scoring defense in a conference game as they blew out Arkansas 66-34 on Thursday at Stegeman Coliseum. It was the fewest points ever allowed by Georgia in a regular-season Southeastern Conference game and win No. 899 in Georgia coach Andy Landers’ 34-season career. Landers’ career win total includes his stint at Roane State.
“I will say it’s pretty surprising because of the competition in the SEC,” Georgia guard Jasmine James said. “To come out and hold a team to 34 points in this league is a pretty impressive thing. It is surprising not just that it’s the first time it’s happened but that its even happened at all.”
Georgia’s previous lowest output allowed in an SEC regular-season game was 35 points against South Carolina in 1997. Arkansas only had 16 points in the first half and added 18 in the second half.
“Our defense was good,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said. “The team, the players focused and really did a nice job of recognition. They kept the drivers from driving and for the most part kept the shooters from shooting. They stayed between everybody and the basket so that we could rebound when they did shoot. Our defense was good. It was relentless. It was consistent. It started with the first possession and continued to the end.”
Jasmine Hassell led Georgia with 14 points and James scored 12. Anne Marie Armstrong scored nine, while Khaalidah Miller and Erika Ford each had eight.
“We were just trying to defend them and stick to the scouting report,” Hassell said. “Defensively, we were trying to pressure the ball, and everybody was getting after it. When all five people are playing defense, it’s kind of hard to score.”
Georgia (22-4, 10-3 in the SEC) led throughout and buried the Razorbacks (17-9, 5-8) with a 25-8 run to start the second half.
“I know at the half they only had 16 points and we were trying to stay on track for 32,” Georgia forward Anne Marie Armstrong said. “But they scored a little more. I just thought our defense was good and everybody came out and did a great job on defense.”
Georgia held Arkansas to 14 of 53 (26.4 percent) field-goal shooting, including 2 of 16 (12.5 percent) from 3-point line territory. Georgia also forced 23 turnovers that it turned into 30 points, which almost matched Arkansas total for the whole game.
“We knew going into the game that they (Arkansas) focuses on getting the ball inside and driving,” James said. “I think we did a good job of getting up and pressuring them, which turned into a lot of turnovers for them. We wanted to keep them from getting the ball inside. Our posts did a really good job of defending down low, and the guard did a really job of preventing them from getting anything from outside.”
Georgia reversed a trend of slow starts in the second half as Hassell went on a six-point run to give Georgia a 38-18 lead with 17:40 left.
“We’ve been focusing on playing two complete halves and not just one,” Hassell said. “It still wasn’t too perfect of a 40 minutes. But I think we’re getting there and we’re steadily improving to have two strong halves. We didn’t want to let up and keep fighting and keep pushing. We wanted to keep doing what we were doing in the first half.”
Arkansas was led by Dominique Wilson and Erin Gatling, who each had eight points.
“I think the most frustrating thing is that we didn’t come out ready to play,” Arkansas coach Tom Collen said. “We didn’t do anything about that to dig ourselves out of the hole. We kept looking at the scoreboard and kept turning the ball over. There was just a lot of frustration and not a lot of leadership out there. You’re not going to be able to fight back against a team like Georgia once you let them start rolling like that.”
NOTEWORTHY: Georgia had 13 steals in the game, led by three each from Armstrong and James. … Arkansas did not shot a free throw in the first half and had six in the game (made four). … Georgia out-rebounded Arkansas 50-31, led by seven each from Krista Donald and Erika Ford. … Hassell finished with three rebounds to break her streak of three straight double-doubles.