UGA defeated No. 10 Mississippi State 47-43 in Stegeman Coliseum Thursday to earn its second SEC win of the season. Shacobia Barbee led Georgia with 17 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Merritt Hempe and Caliya Robinson, who each had nine points.
After a back-and-forth effort for most of the first half, Georgia (14-5, 2-4 SEC) pulled away in the third quarter, opening up on an 8-2 run and going up by as much as 10 points. Mississippi State (17-3, 4-2 SEC) made a late run in the fourth, cutting Georgia’s lead to three, but a 3-pointer by Barbee with 4:39 left to go helped keep the game out of reach.
“We’re really proud of our girls,” Georgia head coach Joni Taylor said. “They came out just executed. We told them to take it one possession at a time. I feel like we’ve been playing tight lately and putting so much pressure on every shot we take, and tonight we just took what came to us, and we just had a great team effort.”
Here are five observations from the game:
1. Low-scoring first half
Thursday’s game was a low-scoring one, with both teams shooting below 30 percent in the first half. Georgia scored only three field goals in the second quarter, while Mississippi State only scored two.
Mississippi State entered the contest averaging 78.6 points per game but came away with only 43 against Georgia’s defense.
“Tonight was a really big win, but we just have to click better on offense,” Barbee said. “Defensive did really good tonight, transition was really good, but I think our offense in the halfcourt just needs to click because people are going to start not letting us run in transition.”
2. Third quarter turnaround
The third quarter proved to be Georgia’s best offensively. After leading 17-14 at the half, Georgia outscored Mississippi State 10-4 in the first four minutes of the third. Despite a run by Mississippi State, Georgia was able to extend its lead to 10.
After shooting just 28 percent in the first half, Georgia turned around and shot 42.9 percent in the second half, making 12 of its 28 field goals.
“The key was defense,” senior Merritt Hempe said. “We guarded the ball much better this game and stayed with a zone that worked very well. We also really got a lot out of the press at the beginning of the game.”
3. Limiting fouls
Georgia did a good job of minimizing its fouls in Thursday’s game. After sending Alabama and Florida to the line 26 and 22 times, respectively, in their last two games, the Bulldogs only sent Mississippi State to the line 12 times. Mississippi State missed five of those free throws, for a 58.3 percentage.
4. Robinson sparks team
After Mississippi State opened up the first quarter on a 7-0 run, Georgia answered with a 9-2 run of its own with help from Caliya Robinson’s seven straight points. The freshman scored nine points on the night to go along with six rebounds.
“(Robinson) plays with a lot of energy,” Taylor said. “She’s very versatile and can do a lot for us. When she’s on, she really helps our team because she can do so many different things.”
5. Barbee keeps rolling
Barbee’s 17 points and 11 points gave the senior guard her seventh double-double of the season, and her fourth in SEC play. Barbee has continued as one of Georgia’s strongest leaders this season.
Georgia will continue its three-game homestand against LSU on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET in Stegeman Coliseum.