Tiaria Griffin scored 16 points and Shacobia Barbee added a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead No. 20 Georgia past Auburn, 57-52, at Auburn Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Griffin scored seven points in the final 3:16 as the Lady Bulldogs (15-2, 3-1 SEC) outscored the Tigers 11-5 down the stretch.
Auburn (9-8, 0-4 SEC) went up 47-46 on a Hasina Muhammad jumper with 3:44 remaining. Griffin answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to put Georgia up 52-47 just 1:23 later.
“Those buckets were huge and I couldn’t figure out her shot,” head coach Andy Landers said. “I’ve never seen her hold the ball like that and work the step back, so I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to end, especially that last one. She shot the ball well. She’s been shooting the ball well and her teammates do a good job of finding her. The best thing about the last eight to 10 games is that she starting to create her own shots.”
After a defensive stop, Marjorie Butler knocked down a pair of free throws to make it a three-possession game with 80 second left.
The Tigers cut the margin to 55-52 on a Brandy Montgomery 3-pointer with 34 second left, but a Griffin free throw extended the margin back to two possessions. Montgomery missed additional shots from behind the arc with 10 and four seconds left.
“I thought defensively we stayed the course,” Landes said. “We were very good changing from one to other, 2-3 (zone) to man. They ran some isolation and scored. Muhammad was terrific coming down the stretch, but we were pretty good defensively and then opportunistic on offense.”
Muhammad finished with a game-high 18 points, 16 of those coming in the second half.
Though out-rebounded 37-33, the Lady Bulldogs owned a 19-7 advantage on second-chance points.
Georgia started the game cold, connecting on just one of its first 10 shots from the field as Auburn jumped out to a 7-2 lead. The Lady Bulldogs surged to their first lead at 8-7 moments later, but consecutive three-point plays from Tra’cee Tanner pushed the Tigers to a 15-8 advantage.
The Tigers built there largest lead at 24-13 with 4:22 remaining in the period before the Lady Bulldogs used a 10-2 run to pull within two points at the intermission.
Georgia tied the game at 28-28 and grabbed its first lead of the second half at 31-30 on a Griffin 3-pointer. There were five lead changes and two ties before Griffin ignited the decisive surge.
Georgia’s next game is Thursday night at Ole Miss at 7 p.m. ET.
The Lady Bulldogs will then return home next Sunday to host Vanderbilt at 2 p.m. ET. The first 750 fans in attendance next weekend will receive a free Georgia iPhone 5 case.
Single-game reserved seat tickets for Lady Bulldog games are $5 for adults and $3 for children. UGA students, faculty and staff are admitted to all Lady Bulldog games free of charge with a valid UGA Card. Faculty and staff should pick up tickets at the Coliseum box office. Students are admitted to the arena via the entrance to the left of the box office by showing their UGA Card.
Single-game tickets are on sale via georgiadogs.com, by calling 877-542-1231 or in person at the UGA Ticket Office in the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall from 8:30-4:30 on weekdays. In addition, single-game tickets go on sale at the Stegeman Coliseum box office (closest to Sanford Drive) beginning 60 minutes before tip-off of every home game.
• Georgia improves to 26-17 all-time against Auburn; however, the Tigers own a 10-9 edge in games played at Auburn.
• Georgia improved to 4-2 this season when trailing at halftime.
• Sunday’s game was the 1250th of Andy Landers’ coaching career. Landers was 82-21 (103 games) in four seasons at Roane State College from 1975-79. He is now 858-289 (1,147 games) in 36 seasons at Georgia.
• After using a different starting for the first time this season against Missouri on Thursday, Georgia returned to the same quintet is has utilized for 15 of 17 games this season, with Shacobia Barbee (76th career start), Merritt Hempe (52nd career start), Krista Donald (50th career start), Tiaria Griffin (40th career start) and Marjorie Butler (22nd career start) getting the nod.
• Tiaria Griffin finished with 16 points, her 13th double-figure game this season and 36th of her career.
• Shacobia Barbee finished with 15 points, her 11th double-digit outing of the season and 39th of her career.
• Shacobia Barbee grabbed 11 rebounds, her fourth double-figure board performance this season and 16th of her career.
• Shacobia Barbee notched her third double-double of the season and 10th of her career.