Shacobia Barbee registered her second double-double in as many conference games with 10 points and 14 rebounds, but a gritty comeback effort from the Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team (12-3, 0-2) fell short in an upset bid against No. 20 Missouri (14-1, 1-1) by a 54-48 final score on Thursday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
Behind Tiaria Griffin’s 14 points on top of Barbee’s 10 second-half points, Georgia overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to take the lead into the fourth quarter and led by as many as five before the scoring went cold. The home squad scored only five points over the game’s final 9:12 as Georgia lost for the first time at home this season.
“We dug ourselves a hole early in the game,” said head coach Joni Taylor. “We got down early in the first quarter. I felt like, uncharacteristically of us, we took some quick shots, we weren’t in the flow of our offense, and we were trying to play from behind. It was a great effort on their part to come back in the third quarter.”
The Lady Bulldogs had a rough go on the offensive end in the first quarter as they tried to solve Missouri’s zone defense, shooting just 17 percent from the floor (2-for-12) in the opening frame. The visitors hit half of their shots from the floor, cashing in for a 15-6 lead after 10 minutes of play.
Caliya Robinson came off the bench and made an instant impact for the home squad, netting seven points in the second frame to draw Georgia back to as close as six points, but Missouri kept its hot hand while holding the Lady Bulldogs at bay and led 31-21 at the break.
Georgia came out strong in the second half, opening with six unanswered points, courtesy of seniors Griffin and Barbee, to pull within four. After a bucket for the visitors, four-straight Georgia points forced Mizzou into a timeout as it clung to a two-point lead. The Lady Bulldogs claimed their first lead of the game at 2:06 of the third with two Marjorie Butler free throws to go ahead 37-36, and they held on to a 40-38 edge at the end of 30 minutes of play.
Barbee hit from deep for her first 3-pointer of the game to open the fourth quarter and give Georgia a five-point cushion. The Lady Bulldogs fell victim to a cold streak after that, falling behind the Tigers 48-43 with 2:50 remaining in the contest. Griffin hit a runner with 2:26 left, snapping a scoreless streak of 6:46 to draw within one possession. The Lady Bulldogs never quite pulled even, though, falling by the narrow margin of six points.
Georgia is back in action on Sunday against No. 10/9 Kentucky at 2 p.m. For all the latest on Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball, follow the team on Twitter (@UGA_WBB), Instagram (@uga_wbb) and Facebook (Georgia Women’s Basketball) and continue to check in to georgiadogs.com.