Behind a deep scoring effort in which eight Lady Bulldogs appeared on the score sheet, the Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball team (21-7, 9-6) defeated Arkansas (11-17, 6-9) by a 72-57 tally in the home finale on Thursday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
Four Lady Dogs reached double-digit scoring, led by seniors Merritt Hempe (18 points) and Tiaria Griffin (15 points). Caliya Robinson and Pachis Roberts also crossed the 10-point plateau, posting 14 and 12 points, respectively. After trailing by two points at the break, Georgia shot 61.5-percent from the field in the second half, scoring 48 points in the final 20 minutes of play. With the win, Georgia finishes the 2015-16 regular season slate with a 14-3 record at home.
“We felt like we could take advantage of some size inside,” said Georgia head coach Joni Taylor. “Arkansas is a really good team. Credit them for their effort. We knew it would be all hands on deck, and to have four players in double-figures, we really settled in in the third and fourth quarter and got comfortable and made plays.”
Halle Washington hit a jumper on Georgia’s first possession to put the Lady Dogs on top, but Arkansas responded with a 9-0 run for a sizable early lead. Georgia never quite got comfortable on the offensive end after that, shooting 4-for-15 from the floor in the first quarter as the Razorbacks held a 14-8 lead after 10 minutes of play.
After allowing a trey to open the second quarter, Georgia used a 6-0 run to climb back within three points. The Razorbacks once again extended their lead, but the Lady Bulldogs used a balanced scoring effort to close the gap to just two points at the intermission. In total, seven Lady Dogs combined for the team’s 24 first-half points, with Hempe claiming a team-high six.
The defenses dominated the early portion of the third quarter as each team scored only four points before the media timeout. The Lady Dogs then used a 6-0 spurt to take their first lead since 2-0, and the teams traded buckets for the rest of the quarter, with Hempe draining a shot from inside the paint to give Georgia a 45-42 lead into the final frame.
The Lady Bulldogs found some distance at the start of the fourth, cashing in three consecutive buckets from Hempe to build a nine-point lead. The difference between the teams continued to grow, reaching 15 points at the media timeout, and the Lady Bulldogs coasted to the win.
The Lady Dogs will next head to Knoxville to face the Lady Volunteers in the regular season finale.