Lady Bulldogs get 21st-consecutive win against Georgia Southern

Merritt Hempe grabs a rebound during Tuesday's game against Georgia Southern.

ATHENS – Four things to know from the Lady Bulldogs’ (3-1) dominant 75-28 performance over Georgia Southern (0-3):

DOUBLE THE DOUBLE-DOUBLES

Senior Merritt Hempe once again led the team in scoring with a double-double night, knocking in 20 points and grabbing 11 boards.

“It was really just a fun game to be out there with my teammates and just playing hard and getting things going with my team was really fun,” Hempe said.

Rebounding was a point of emphasis for the entire team. And with that, the Bulldogs outrebounded the team 48-29.

“We lost Krista Donald (who graduated last year), and we asked Merritt to take on the responsibility of rebounding the ball and she has done that very well this season, and I am extremely happy for her,” coach Joni Taylor said.

On the scoring front, sophomore Mackenzie Engram closely followed with 15 points.

The third double-digit scorer of the night, senior Shacobia Barbee was the first Bulldog to tally a double-double—the 13th of her career. Barbee was three assists shy of her second triple-double of the season.

“I know! I know, I know” Barbee said. “That’s all right. It is what it is. I think having that many assists in general is really good…I think some of my first assists were all to Merritt so kudos to her.”

Late in the game, Hempe kept a smile on her face as she kept going for her 10th rebound that would give her the double-double.

“[Shacobia] was reminding me the whole game,” Hempe said. “We were both kind of going for our rebounds. The whole team I could feel was behind me and wanted me to get it so it was just a team effort pushing me to the board.”

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

Previous to Tuesday’s game, of the three newcomers, only freshman Amber Skidgel had notched game time. Caliya Robinson, the No. 19 overall recruit in the class of 2015 according to ESPN, and Shanea Armbrister, a junior transfer from Darton College, had been rehabbing knee issues.

As the score was 22-5, Georgia put in the all three newbies on the court to start the second quarter. After a turnover on the first possession, freshman Amber Skidgel knocked in a three to begin the Lady Bulldogs’ 19-point second quarter.

At with 7:30 left in the quarter, Ambrister hit the first shot of her career — a three-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 21-point lead.

“It was definitely exciting,” Hempe said. “I mean, seeing Shanea knock down that three as soon as she got in and then Caliya with all those great blocks. It just shows a glimpse of what we’re going to have continuing forward.”

In the first half alone, the three newcomers accounted for 12 points. The three finished the game with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

GEORGIA SOUTHERN STRUGGLES

With the loss to Georgia, the Georgia Southern Eagles continue a four-game losing streak.

The Lady Eagles struggled to get shots to fall as the team shot 22.2 percent from the field and a mere 9.2 percent from beyond the arc.

Sisters Patrice and Sierra Butler tied the team-high scoring at 6 points.

The loss also ties a Georgia record for lowest points allowed since women’s basketball joined the NCAA. The previous low was 28 points allowed to Savannah State in January 2008. (In 1976, Georgia held Georgia Tech to 22 points.)

“To be honest with you, they kind of surprised us a little bit because they starter out in the zone, and we weren’t expecting that,” Georgia Southern head coach Kip Drown said. “We knew we were probably going to get some at some point in time, but they jumped into it right off the bat. We really didn’t get any rhythm going with that….You credit Georgia. I thought that they did a good job defensively. They were a little different than we expected off the start, they got the rhythm going. They went out and ran. They pounded the offensive glass, and we just didn’t compete with them.”

NOTABLES –Georgia deployed five players off the bench and all 10 players that saw the court scored. –Marjorie Butler was the only player to not register a turnover. –This marks the 50th consecutive non-conference home win for the Lady Bulldogs. The last non-conference home loss came against Xavier on Dec. 30, 2008.

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