The Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team fell 62-58 to Indiana in a hard-fought battle during first round action of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at the Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Indiana.
With the loss, Georgia concludes its season with a record of 21-10 and 9-7 in SEC action. The Lady Bulldogs returned the NCAA Tournament for the 32nd time in school history and for the first time under first-year head coach Joni Taylor.
Freshman Caliya Robinson scored 14 points, grabbed eight rebounds and swatted six shots to lead the Lady Bulldogs overall. Senior guard Tiaria Griffin poured in 18 points, including four shots from behind the arc.
“We are obviously disappointed,” Taylor said. “I am proud of this team and all we accomplished this season. We can’t say thank you enough to the senior class for all they did for us.”
The Hoosiers were first on the board, but feisty defense from the Lady Bulldogs held the opposition in check as Merritt Hempe buried a three-pointer to grab Georgia’s first lead. Indiana built its lead to 10-5, but the Lady Bulldogs responded with a pair of baskets from Hempe and Griffin. The Hoosiers had scored six straight unanswered points before Griffin nailed a running jumper bringing the score to 12-19 for Indiana at the conclusion of the first quarter.
The Lady Bulldogs got things going early on in the second quarter on the offensive glass, scoring several put backs to cut Indiana’s lead to one. Both teams traded baskets on the offensive end over the course of the final five minutes of the half. The Hoosiers took a 28-24 lead into halftime as Georgia was led by Griffin with 10 points.
Georgia came out of the gates firing in the second half going on an 8-0 run to grab its first lead since early in the first quarter. Griffin and Pachis Roberts both drilled three-pointers while Marjorie Butler got things going inside the arc. The lead exchanged hands several times before ending with a 43-42 Indiana advantage heading into the final quarter.
Hempe and Robinson led the Lady Bulldogs early in the fourth quarter, combining for seven points in the first three minutes of action. Both teams made plays down the stretch with Indiana striking first with four straight points. The Lady Bulldogs trailed 60-56 with 21 seconds to go, but wouldn’t be denied as Griffin hit a long jumper to bring Georgia within two. Georgia couldn’t get a look to go to tie the game late that ultimately led to its defeat.