Merritt Hempe’s third double-double of the season (17 points, 10 rebounds) spearheaded a relentless display by the Georgia Lady Bulldogs basketball team (9-1) in a 77-39 win over Furman (5-4) on Tuesday morning at Stegeman Coliseum.
A total of four Lady Dogs reached double digits in the game, with Hempe’s 17 points, Shacobia Barbee’s 17, Mackenzie Engram’s 14 and Tiara Griffin’s 10. The team play extended to both ends of the floor as Georgia put on another lockdown display in the second half by holding Furman to 14 total points in the final two quarters. Over the last two contests, Georgia has held opponents to just 8-for-48 (16.7 percent) from the field in the final 20 minutes of play. The 39 total points was the smallest offensive output for Furman this season.
Click Here for Georgia vs. Furman Box Score
“I told them we’re trying to be a good team,” said head coach Joni Taylor. “I’m not saying we’re there yet. But good teams handle success. Good teams mentally prepare. We came out a little flat in the first quarter, but then we stepped in up and really played great in the third and fourth quarter.”
The Lady Dogs showed off their defensive prowess in the early running after Furman claimed a 3-0 lead, forcing six turnovers over four and a half minutes to spark an 11-3 run. Georgia continued to push the pace offensively, totaling eight fast-break points in the first quarter en route to a 17-13 lead through a frenetic 10 minutes of play.
The home side remained balanced offensively in the early running of the second, boasting six Lady Dogs in the scorebook with more than five minutes left in the half. Furman continued to battle, pulling within three points at the 5:12 mark. With a bucket in the paint, the Paladins reduced the Georgia lead to 24-23, but Hempe answered on the other end to push the lead back to three and Griffin hit from deep on the next possession for a six-point edge with less than two minutes remaining in the half. Engram hit the double-digit mark with a trey on the Lady Bulldogs’ final possession, and they went to the locker room with their first-half-high lead of seven points at 32-25.
As has been the case for most of the season, the Lady Dogs came out swinging in the second with two quick buckets and a 10-2 run to take a 15-point lead, forcing a timteout by Furman at the 5:19 mark. The onslaught continued after the timeout, though, as Georgia pushed its lead to 21 with a Griffin three from the corner to go up 48-27. It was the defense that kept Georgia at arm’s length at the end of the third, holding Furman to just 3-for-14 from the field as the Lady Bulldogs went into the final quarter leading 50-36.
Again it was all Lady Dogs in the final quarter, outscoring Furman 27-3 en route to a comfortable win.
The Lady Bulldogs return to action on Dec. 20 at Wright State and will return home to take on Cincinnati on the 23rd.