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Post Lady Dogs rebound with a nice win over Vandy

Friday January 19, 2007

With such a tough time of it against Tennessee last weekend, you’d hope that Georgia could look to its upperclassmen for leadership in the next game against a very good #14 Vanderbilt team.

That’s just what happened. Georgia pulled away from a tough Vanderbilt team in the second half for an 83-71 win last night. It was an upset of sorts as Vandy was the higher-ranked team, but Georgia certainly looked like the better squad. Tasha Humphrey started the game with two three-pointers and looked very much like the Tasha of old while she was on the court. The player of the game might have been senior guard Janese Hardrick who had a huge impact on both ends of the court and ignited Georgia’s second half runs. "I think the person that sparked us the most in the second half was Hardrick," said Coach Landers. She was active on defense, explosive in transition, and hit her free throws down the stretch. It’s the kind of game you’d hope she would have more often as a senior, so we’ll see if similar efforts are to come.

It wasn’t that high-scoring of a game (only 30-29 at halftime), but Vanderbilt’s pressure and fouls led to a very long final five minutes. Georgia was put at the line an incredible 42 times in the game and hit 76% of them – plenty good enough to keep Vanderbilt at a distance as they tried to come back. Vandy took the lead at halftime with a quick nine points from outside, but Georgia soon regained control in the second half by being much more aggressive on offense and attacking the Vandy pressure.

The Lady Dogs were usually able to solve Vanderbilt’s pressure defense, and Vandy’s aggressiveness on defense opened up a lot of chances for ball reversal and open looks. Meanwhile, Vandy was able to get some shots against Georgia’s 2-3 zone, but they were unable to make forward Carla Thomas much of a factor. The differences in the game were Georgia’s ability to create transition opportunities through plays on defense from Houts and Hardrick and then the play of Tasha Humphrey. Humphrey was big from outside in the first half with three three-pointers, and then she was effective inside for really the first time this season. She was only limited by fouls, and a few questionable calls led to her fouling out.

Cori Chambers continued to struggle. Held scoreless from the floor by Tennessee, she had two early three-pointers in this game but went cold. It started affecting other areas of her game, so she spent most of the second half on the bench. That wasn’t the kind of response you’d expect from a senior.

Because this win wasn’t over Tennessee or LSU, it’s pretty easy to overlook its importance. Vandy is a quality team though, and they could have easily beaten Georgia if the Lady Dogs were moping after the Tennessee loss. Georgia goes out of conference to play FSU this weekend at the Russell Athletic Shootout in Duluth, and they’ll face the next SEC challenge next Thursday when #24 Ole Miss comes to town. Ole Miss is playing very well right now, so that game plus this Vanderbilt win could go a long way towards establishing the 3-4-5 spots in the SEC standings.

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