March 3, 2014 9:35:10 AM
ATHENS, Ga. -- The Georgia women's basketball team used an 11-0 run early in the first half Sunday to build a double-digit lead en route to its 77-48 rout of Mississippi State at Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia (19-10, 7-9 Southeastern Conference) took control with the run that gave it a 13-2 lead less than halfway through the first half. It capitalized on 17 turnovers by MSU in the stanza and scored the final nine points in the half to take a 44-15 halftime lead.
The victory helped Georgia split the season series. MSU won 80-67 on Feb. 2 in Starkville. In that game, MSU had 17 turnovers for the game and shot 51.9 percent from the field. On Sunday, though, MSU (18-12, 5-11) had 23 turnovers and shot only 35.7 percent (15 of 42) for the game, including 28.6 percent (6 of 21) in the first half.
"Georgia played like a team that needed to win," MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. "It was their Senior Night. You take your hat off to Georgia for really playing well today. They punched us first, second, third, fourth and fifth. It is the worst game of the year for us. I am very disappointed.
"(Georgia) coach Landers challenged some of the players on their team. That is what college athletics is all about. They wanted a second chance at us and they got it. It wasn't anything we didn't expect."
Savannah Carter and Katia May each had 10 points to lead MSU, which slipped to the No. 13 seed in the final SEC standings. As a result, MSU will take on No. 12 seed Missouri, which lost to Arkansas 72-70 on Sunday, at 5 p.m. Wednesday on the opening day of the SEC tournament at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. Fox Sports Net or SportSouth will broadcast the game live.
Merritt Hempe had 22 points for Georgia, while Khaalidah Miller, Georgia's only senior, had 18, Tiaria Griffin had 16, and Shacobia Barbee had 10.
"We had to do a better job at the four and the five," Landers said. "I thought we did that, with the exception of the fouls. We had some totally unnecessary fouls that allowed their four and five and some of their guards to get to the free throw line. But defensively we, for the most part, were where we needed to be, doing what we needed to do. All in all it was a terrific defensive effort that led to some terrific offense. Excellent shooting, excellent ball movement, and excellent sharing of the ball. What a terrific way for Khaalidah Miller to finish her home career."
After a jumper by Martha Alwal brought MSU within 19-6, Georgia scored the game's next seven points to build a 26-6 advantage. MSU closed within 17 on two free throws by Dominique Dillingham, but the turnovers problem continued in the first half.
MSU closed with 25 points on a jumper by May with 8 minutes, 56 seconds left in regulation. Georgia followed with a 13-3 run to push the lead to the game's highest at 35 points in the closing minutes.
MSU was 15 of 42 from the field (35.7 percent), 0 of 3 from 3-point range, and 18 of 28 from the free throw line (64.3). Georgia was 26 of 52 from the field (50), 7 of 14 from 3-point range (50), and 18 of 21 from the free throw line (85.7).
Alwal added nine points, while Ketara Chapel had six off the bench. Breanna Richardson scored five in first game back in her home state, and Dillingham and Sherise Williams capped the scoring with four points each.
MSU played without junior point guard Jerica James.
1. Notebook: Self enjoys career day as Bulldogs enjoy sweep COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Starkville routs Murrah in playoff opener, falls in second game HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. New Hope starts postseason with win over Lake Cormorant HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Moyer, Jr. wins at Bullring for first time LOCAL SPORTS