Senior Shacobia Barbee became the 37th player in program history to score 1,000 career points, leading the Georgia Lady Bulldogs (10-1) to a hard-fought 63-57 victory on the road against Wright State (10-3) Sunday afternoon for the team’s ninth win in a row.
Barbee nearly recorded her second triple-double of the season finishing the night with 14 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. She was joined in double-figure scoring by Merrit Hempe with 15 points and Tiaria Griffin with 12.
The 57 points scored by Wright State was the lowest mark this season by the Raiders. The Lady Bulldogs allowed the opposition to score only one point in the final 3:26 of the game.
“We came out and missed a lot of good looks early to start the game,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “We’ve been off for a while, and we were rusty. It looked like we couldn’t make a shot to start. At halftime, we just talked about that we were fine. We held a good team offensively below their average. We just had to come out and do the same thing in the second half, and those shots were going to start to fall.”
Both teams struggled to get things going in the first half. The Lady Bulldogs were all over the Raiders on the defensive end, holding the opposition to a poor 31-percent shooting on the half. Wright State strung together a run near the five-minute mark of the second quarter, but the Lady Bulldogs answered with baskets from Halle Washington and Caliyah Robinson to cut the score to 20-19 with 2:24 to go. The Raiders closed out the half on a 6-0 run to take a 26-19 lead into the break.
The start of the third quarter favored the Raiders early, but Georgia’s effort on defense and in the paint paid off with a string of points for the Lady Bulldogs. Merritt Hempe and Mackenzie Engram’s post presence began to show in the second half. The duo combined for 12 points in the third quarter after scoring only four points in the first half. Tiaria Griffin hit a three-pointer as time expired in the final seconds of the third quarter to give Georgia a 42-40 lead heading into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter featured much of the same back-and-forth action that was showcased in the first 30 minutes. Wright State’s Antania Hayes had an opportunity to tie the game with 1:20 remaining, but was unable to convert on either free throw attempts following a foul by Georgia. Barbee hit an enormous 18-foot jumper with 35-seconds remaining to give the Lady Bulldogs a two-possession lead. Georgia’s defense held the Raiders scoreless for nearly the final 3:26 of the game, allowing only one free throw in the final seconds of the contest.
The Lady Bulldogs return to action on Dec. 23 to host Cincinnati at one p.m. ET in Stegeman Coliseum.