UGA defeated Ole Miss 70-56 at home Sunday to improve to 6-5 in the SEC. Tiaria Griffin led the team with 19 points, followed by Merritt Hempe with 17 and Shacobia Barbee with a double-double of 12 points and 15 rebounds.
After going into halftime tied at 30, the Bulldogs (18-6, 6-5 SEC) jumped out to a 13-point lead in the third quarter. Georgia outscored Ole Miss (10-13, 2-8) 26-12 in the third and kept the momentum going in the fourth, finishing the game shooting 47.2 percent from the field.
“(Ole Miss) came out, hit open shots, and we just had to stay the course and stay with it,” UGA coach Joni Taylor said. “(We) made some adjustments at halftime, and that worked in our favor.”
Here are five observations from the game:
1. First half struggles
Neither team was able to fully take over the game in the first half of the game. UGA opened up on a 6-0 run in the first quarter, but the Rebels outscored the Bulldogs 17-14 .
Ole Miss began the second quarter with the lead, but a 9-0 run by the Bulldogs put them out in front, 23-17. UGA then went cold offensively, missing seven of its next 10 field goals, and the teams went into halftime tied at 30.
“We knew coming in they were a tough, scrappy game, so we knew that’s how the game was going to be,” Hempe said. “We were ready for it. I don’t know if we were necessarily ready for all of the threes that they hit, but we knew they were a good, tough team.”
2. Third quarter breakaway
The Bulldogs finally broke away in the third quarter, outscoring the Rebels 26-14. The Bulldogs shot 12-for-26 in the second half and also held Ole Miss to 31.3 percent shooting. Freshman Caliya Robinson also registered five blocks in the game, helping limit the Rebels to just 12 points in the paint.
“You can take any of those games for granted,” Hempe said. “Obviously, we learned that early in the season, so we’re just trying to protect our home court.”
3. Unforced turnovers
The first half saw a lot of unforced turnovers by the Bulldogs that Ole Miss was able to capitalize on. The Bulldogs had five turnovers in the first quarter, resulting in 10 points for the Rebels.
4. Hempe stands out
After a quiet game against Auburn on Thursday, Hempe had a breakout game against the Rebels. The senior scored 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Eight of Hempe’s points came in the first quarter alone as she made all four of her field goals.
“I was just posting up hard, and the guards really found me down low,” Hempe said. “I was running the floor so it was just easy buckets. The guards did a really good job of feeding the post.”
5. Getting to the line
The Bulldogs were able to get to the free-throw line 21 times against Ole Miss on Sunday. The team made 15 of their attempts, shooting 71 percent from the stripe.
The Bulldogs will be off for a week before traveling to Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday to face LSU at 3 p.m. ET.ent.