Behind strong scoring efforts from seniors Shacobia Barbee and Tiaria Griffin as well as stellar defensive play in the second half, the Georgia Lady Bulldogs basketball team (8-1) scored an upset victory over No. 21/22 Seton Hall (7-1) by a 70-52 final Sunday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.
The Barbee-Griffin tandem combined for 34 points and 15 rebounds, spurring the Lady Bulldogs to victory after trailing 33-30 at the half. On the defensive end, Georgia held the Pirates to only 4-for-25 from the field in the second half, including a third-quarter lockdown performance that held the Pirates to just 1-for-12 from the field as the home side pulled away. The Lady Bulldogs also put on a clinic on the boards, winning the rebounding battle 49-36, including a career-best nine for Marjorie Butler. The win was the first for Georgia over a ranked opponent of the season.
“A great defensive effort from our girls,” said head coach Joni Taylor. “That’s what gets us going, that’s what gets us started. They were playing defense, and in the stands everybody was jumping. We knew we could come out and play the way we wanted to. Seton Hall is a really good team, we knew that. We’ve got great players and I’m just really proud of the way they came out tonight.”
After falling behind 5-0 in the early running, the Lady Bulldogs punched back with a 7-0 run of their own, capped by Merritt Hempe’s first trey of the season. The closely-fought first quarter ended with Georgia leading 16-15, with Barbee and Mackenzie Engram combining for 11 of the team’s points. The opening period featured five lead changes, and the initial five-point lead by the visitors was the biggest gap between the teams.
Butler put on a defensive clinic at the start of the second, adding on the Georgia’s lead by picking the pocket of a Seton Hall player on the Pirates’ end and converting an easy layup. On the Pirates’ next possession, Butler’s active feet led to a charge call to take the ball back. Pachis Roberts checked in at the 8:31 mark, her first playing time of the season after coming back from injury. The Lady Dogs and the Pirates traded buckets for most of the second quarter, with the Pirates claiming a 33-30 edge into the locker room.
The Lady Bulldogs came out of the locker room firing, using an 8-0 run in the first two minutes to climb on top 38-33. After a three from Seton Hall, Engram took over with back-to-back buckets to give Georgia some breathing room. After a SHU bucket, Griffin hit back-to-back treys to extend the Lady Dogs’ lead to 10 points with two minutes remaining in the third, and they held the cushion into the final frame. Georgia held Seton Hall to just 1-for-12 shooting in the third quarter.
The lead grew to 14 after back-to-back layups by Caliya Robinson and Griffin, and the lead grew to as high as 17 with just seven minutes remaining. Georgia continued to score methodically on the fast break, maintaining comfortable distance en route to the upset win.
The Lady Bulldogs will be back in action on Tuesday at 11 a.m. as they take on Furman as part of a day-night doubleheader with the men’s team.
(Photo credit: UGA Sports Communications)