UGA earned its third SEC win of the season after defeating Auburn 63-30 Thursday in Stegeman Coliseum. Tiaria Griffin and Shacobia Barbee led the Bulldogs with 17 and 16 points, respectively, and Halle Washington earned her first start of the season.
After ending the first quarter tied at 15, Georgia (15-6, 3-5 SEC) pulled away, outscoring the Tigers (13-8, 3-5 SEC) 19-3 in the second quarter. The Bulldogs kept their feet on the gas, shooting above 42 percent and keeping the game out of reach for the rest of the game.
“Offensively this game gives our kids confidence and allows us to talk about rebounding,” Georgia head coach Joni Taylor said. “If you can rebound the basketball, then it puts you in the position to push the basketball, make plays and put your team into the offense where you can score before the other team gets in position on defense.”
Here are five observations from the game:
1. Second quarter sets the tone
The third quarter has typically been Georgia’s best throughout the season, but the second quarter proved to be the difference-maker in Thursday’s contest. Despite a scoring drought from both teams at the beginning of the quarter, the Bulldogs opened with an 11-0 run with help from Barbee to push their lead to 13.
Georgia ended the quarter shooting 46.7 percent, taking a 34-18 lead into halftime.
“I think the key was handling (Auburn’s) press,” senior Marjorie Butler said. “We got a lot of stops defensively. When we get stops, they can’t set the press, so it was making it easier for us to get out and run and pretty much get them on their heels defensively.”
2. Offense back on track
Though Georgia has struggled offensively for much of the season, the team turned things around Thursday. The Bulldogs finished the game shooting 42 percent, outscoring the Tigers in three straight quarters.
The team also notched 17 assists compared to just four for Auburn.
“I think we passed the ball around very well,” Griffin said. “We got it to the open man and everybody just knocked down the shot if it was open.”
3. Defense silences Tigers
Georgia’s defense stifled Auburn for most Thursday’s blowout win, holding the Tigers to just 27.9 percent shooting. The Tigers failed to reach 10 points in the final three quarters, making just one field goal in the second and two in the fourth.
Auburn’s leading scorer, Brandy Montgomery, was held to two points in the contest despite averaging 16.5 points per game this season. No Auburn player scored more than six points in the game.
Auburn’s 30 points is the lowest SEC scoring effort against the Bulldogs this season, just two points shy of tying the school’s record.
“I think our players were really locked in and understood the game plan and did a great job defensively,” Taylor said. “To hold them to three points, eight points and four points in the fourth quarter is unbelievable.”
4. Battle on the boards
The Bulldogs dominated the boards in Thursday’s game, totaling 46 rebounds versus Auburn’s 29. While Georgia had 28 defensive rebounds, it also tallied 18 on the offensive glass for 15 second-chance points.
“We were able to get out and run,” Taylor said. “We rebounded the ball well, as you can see. We out-rebounded them 46-29, and that allows us to push in transition and get early looks and easy opportunities.”
5. Griffin in the lead
Griffin is currently Georgia’s leading scorer this season, and she has continued to keep the Bulldogs alive on offense. The senior’s 17 points gave her her 15th double-figure game this season and it was the ninth time she has led the team in scoring.
“I was the hype man tonight, so I think I put the mood on everybody to show up,” Griffin said. “I think we came out ready. I think everybody showed up to play, and it showed on the court and we came out with a win.
Butler also collected the 100th steal of her career Thursday as she ended the night with three against the Tigers.
The Bulldogs will travel to Nashville on Sunday to take on Vanderbilt at 3 p.m. ET.