No. 6 Georgia women stay undefeated, 72-59 at TCUBy STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Basketball Writer Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP)—Erika Ford provided another quick scoring burst for sixth-ranked Georgia, and the Lady Bulldogs are still undefeated a dozen games into the season.
Ford scored 10 points in a span of just over 6 1/2 minutes midway through the first half, and her only other basket in the game was a 3-pointer in the second half to stifle a TCU rally, as Georgia won 72-59 on Wednesday night.
“That’s what she does. Almost every game this year, she comes in and does two or three great, outstanding, immediate things that impact the game,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said. “She did it again tonight. It’s crazy.”
The Lady Bulldogs were up only 10-9 before Ford, the sophomore guard who had checked in on the previous timeout, made a 3-pointer with 15:04 left in the first half. By time Ford had a steal and breakaway layup with 8:21 left, she had scored 10 points in a 15-3 run that stretched the lead to 25-12.
After TCU (5-4) pulled to 53-46 on Kamy Cole’s 3-pointer with 9 1/2 minutes left in the game, part of a 22-8 run, TCU never got closer. Ford made a rainbow 3-pointer from the wing right after that.
Ford finished with 13 points, while Anne Marie Armstrong and Jasmine Hassell had 14 each. Hassell also had nine rebounds.
The Lady Bulldogs are 12-0 for the sixth time in Landers’ 34 seasons. They played their final game before Christmas, and next are at Illinois on Dec. 28 in their last game before opening SEC play.
Georgia’s best start-ever start was 16-0 to start the 2008-09 season when the current seniors were freshmen.
“They matched us pretty good with their defense, and really did a nice job with that for about probably 32 minutes. The first eight minutes we were able to get some things done,” Landers said. “We did a good job when we had an opportunity to do it. As they adjusted, we didn’t adjust. We talked about that a little bit at halftime.”
Natalie Ventress had 19 points for Big 12 newcomer TCU (5-4), which had won five consecutive home games.
Donielle Breaux, the Kansas transfer playing only her second game for TCU, had 14 points. Latricia Lovings scored 10 for the Lady Frogs.
Ventress had a free throw and consecutive layups to spark to spark 22-8 run in the second half for the Lady Frogs. But Ford’s 3-pointer came right after Cole, one of TCU’s three freshman starters, hit from long range.
“They gave us fits all night,” TCU coach Jeff Mittie said. “Their size gave us fits and their physicality everywhere, on the perimeter and inside, gave us fits.”
TCU had 14 turnovers in the first half, but only seven after that when they outscored Georgia 38-34 in the final 20 minutes.
“It was a well-executed basketball game on their part, particularly the second half,” Landers said.
“I thought our group really competed in the second half,” Mittie said. “Once we were able to take care of the basketball it gave us a chance to have some offense and that was much better in the second half.”
TCU plays the third of five consecutive home games Saturday, then has one more game before its first Big 12 game Jan. 2 against defending national champion and third-ranked Baylor.
Ventress had 10 of TCU’s first 12 points, including a 3-pointer that was their only basket during the first-half run that put Georgia ahead by double figures to stay until midway through the second half.
The Lady Frogs are 3-7 in home games against Top 10 teams in Mittie’s 14 seasons. They had won two of the previous three, including a win over third-ranked Maryland in 2008 and win over No. 5 Texas A&M the next year.
And they competed for a while with the Lady Bulldogs, a team with three senior starters and similar to what they will face in the Big 12.
“How do we stack up? I don’t know. Georgia is very deserving of their ranking. That’s a veteran team,” Mittie said. “When we cut it to seven, they didn’t look rattled yet. They quickly answered that. But I was proud of our kids because when they made plays, we made some plays to stay in it.”