Behind stellar Senior Day efforts from Tiaria Griffin and Shacobia Barbee, the Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team (20-7, 8-6) claimed its fifth win of the season over a ranked opponent, the first time Georgia has accomplished that feat since 2006-07, with a 74-63 win over the No. 22 Florida Gators (20-7, 8-6) on Sunday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.
Griffin had arguably her best game as a Lady Bulldog, posting career highs in points (28) and three-pointers (six) in addition to eight rebounds. Barbee scored 20 points and had eight boards before her game was cut short due to an injury early in the fourth quarter. Pachis Roberts joined the pair of seniors in double figures, adding 13 points to help give head coach Joni Taylor her 20th win in her first year as head coach, a tally accomplished by only three other current SEC head coaches at their respective schools.
“Credit Florida, they’re a really good basketball team,” said Taylor. “We knew they would come out and play hard. That’s what they do. Our kids are so resilient. I knew they weren’t going to come out here on Senior Day with the Pink Out and all of our fans here and let it get away from them.”
Georgia started slow on the offensive end, falling behind 11-4 in the first six minutes of play. The team picked it up from there, climbing back into it with an 11-2 run to close the quarter, punctuated by a trey from Roberts as the clock ran down to zero, giving Georgia a 15-13 lead. The Lady Dogs closed the quarter with all the momentum via a 7-0 run in the final 55 seconds of the frame.
Georgia scored four of the first six points of the second quarter to build the lead to four, but the Gators roared back with a 13-0 run to claim a nine-point lead into the final three minutes of the half. Roberts ended the scoring drought with a turnaround jumper to cut the deficit to seven at 2:37, and Georgia was able to trim the gap to five points at 32-27 into the locker room.
The Lady Dogs quickly claimed the lead in the second half, using a 6-0 run in the first two minutes for a one-point edge. Florida reclaimed the lead at 38-36, but a 15-4 run for Georgia, ending with consecutive corner 3s from Griffin, gave the Lady Dogs the upper hand once again as the home team led 51-46 into the final quarter.
Griffin opened the fourth with three deep balls sandwiched around a Florida free throw, boosting Georgia’s lead to 13 points. The Gators punched back, seizing momentum after an injury to Barbee and tightening the game as they reduced the Lady Dog lead to six at the media timeout. Griffin responded with a 3 out of the break to stop the Florida run, and the Lady Bulldogs held on for the 74-63 win.
Georgia will next host Arkansas at 7 p.m. on Thursday night as part of the SEC Network whip-around.