ATHENS, Ga. (AP)—Khaalidah Miller shook off a two-game shooting slump as she and teammate Jasmine Hassell scored 16 points each and No. 21 Georgia defeated Mississippi State 70-60 on Thursday night, ending a two-game losing streak.
Miller had played all 40 minutes of the last two games for Georgia (17-6, 6-4 SEC) as the Lady Dogs try to compensate for the absence of starting point guard Jasmine James, who missed her fifth straight game with a knee injury Thursday. Miller was just 3 for 20 from the field in those games, including missing nine of her 10 3-pointers against Tennessee on Sunday.
Against Mississippi State (13-9, 3-6 SEC), Miller was 6 of 13 shots and twice fueled rallies by Georgia, which ended a two-game losing streak.
“I just focused on making shots,” said Miller, who has played all but five minutes of Georgia’s last six games. “I missed a lot of 3’s against Tennessee and let it get to my head. I kept on going in this game. Coach also challenged me to get to the free-throw line too.”
Miller, along with fellow guards Meredith Mitchell and Erika Ford, has been forced to play extended minutes because of James’s absence. James dressed against State, and Coach Andy Landers expects to play her for a few minutes in Sunday’s game at Alabama.
Kendra Grant and Diamber Johnson scored 14 apiece for Mississippi State, which lost its third straight game. Mississippi State trailed most of the way but led briefly with 4:39 to go in the first half when Grant made three free throws to make it 22-21.
It was tied at 40-40 with 14:10 to go before Miller sparked a 15-0 run by Georgia. She scored eight of those points, on a 3-point play, a 3-point basket and on a press-breaker.
In the first half when Georgia jumped out to a 12-1 lead, Miller hit a 3-pointer and got a layup off a steal.
Neither team shot better than 41 percent, splitting 41 turnovers between them.
“It was a sloppy game,” agreed Landers. “We did not make a lot of easy shots, and we did not hit free throws. We left a lot of points on the table.
“But I feel good that we disrupted them,” he continued. “Defensively we dug in and got some stops. It was great to see our team respond the way it did. You can’t pass us if you can’t score.”
“We have to take better care of the basketball,” said Mississippi State Coach Sharon Fanning-Otis. “You have to value each possession.”
Porsha Porter added 12 points for Mississippi State, and Martha Alwal scored 11. Mitchell scored 11 for Georgia.
Georgia’s largest lead came on Hassell’s basket put the Lady Dogs up 66-44 with 4:20 to go.
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