Ole Miss outscored No. 18 Georgia 8-0 over the final 2:13 to secure a 55-52 victory over the Lady Bulldogs Thursday night.
The Lady Bulldogs went up 52-47 on a pair of Tiaria Griffin free throws with 2:22 remaining but failed to score the rest of the way.
Erika Ford paced Georgia (15-3, 3-2 SEC) with a season-high 20 points.
Four starters reached double figures for Ole Miss (14-4, 4-1 SEC), with Tia Faleru and Erika Sisk scoring 12 apiece and Gracie Frizzell and Danielle McCray both chipping in 11.
“Ole Miss played hard,” head coach Andy Landers said. “They were well prepared, and they did a nice job defensively disrupting what we wanted to do.
“Defensively, we played well,” Landers continued. “We did have a couple of breakdowns, back-door breakdowns to layups. Offensively, there were too many turnovers that led to easy points for Mississippi. End of the day, turnovers…missed free throws – and we’ve been shooting those well – did us end.”
Georgia was only 8-of-16 from the line, that after going 24-of-31 there at Auburn on Sunday.
Ole Miss led the entire first half before Krista Donald knotted the score at 28-28 with 17.5 seconds on the clock. Georgia eventually grabbed its first lead on a layup by Ford with 13:38 remaining that made it 38-36. A Griffin layup extended that to 40-36 on the Lady Bulldogs’ next possession.
Georgia eventually led by as many as six points at 49-43 with 7:31 remaining before the Rebels rallied.
Ole Miss tied the score at 52-52 on a pair of free throws from McCray with 1:26 left. After Griffin missed a jumper, Sisk converted on two more trips to the line with 28 ticks on the clock.
Georgia turned the ball over and was forced to foul with 14 seconds remaining. Sisk made one of two free throws to put Ole Miss on top 55-52. The Rebels fouled Merritt Hempe away from the ball with 6.9 seconds left. She missed the front end of the one-and-one and the Lady Bulldogs fouled again.
Bretta Hart missed two free throws, giving Georgia the ball back with 3.9 seconds remaining, but Griffin’s heave from just over halfcourt failed.
For most of the first half, the Ole Miss upset seemed likely. Georgia got off to a slow start offensively and fell behind 7-2 3:17 into the game. The Rebels gradually expanded that margin, which topped out at 21-11 with 7:35 left in the half on a steal and layup by Faleru.
Ford took things into her own hands at that point. She knocked down a jumper with 7:14 on the clock and scored 12 points during a 17-7 run to end the half.
The Lady Bulldogs will then return home on Sunday to host Vanderbilt at 2 p.m. ET. The first 750 fans in attendance for the game against the Commodores will receive a free Georgia iPhone 5 case.
That contest is the first of a two-game homestand for Georgia. The Lady Bulldogs also will host Texas A&M next Thursday at 7 p.m.
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 vs. Ole Miss Game Notes
• Georgia leads the all-time series with Ole Miss 31-12 overall and 9-8 in Oxford.
• Georgia utilized the same starting five for 17th time of 18 games this season, with Shacobia Barbee (77th career start), Merritt Hempe (53rd career start), Krista Donald (51st career start), Tiaria Griffin (41st career start) and Marjorie Butler (23rd career start) getting the nod.
• Thursday’s game was the first time this season Georgia was tied at the half. It was actually the first time the Lady Bulldogs were tied at intermission in just over two years, since UGA and South Carolina were tied on Jan. 13, 2013.
• Erika Ford finished with a season-high 20 points, her third double-digit outing of the season and the 29th of her career. The output marked Ford’s first double-figure game since she scored her previous high of 15 points against Georgia Southern on Nov. 25.
• Erika Ford posted her fifth career 20-point game.