Lady Dawgs win SEC opener

Oxford, Miss. - Sherill Baker became Georgia's all-time steals leader and Tasha Humphrey poured in 29 points to lead No. 17-ranked Lady Bulldogs (10-3, 1-0) to an 84-70 win over Ole Miss (10-4, 0-1) in both team's SEC opener here on Thursday night.

Megan Darrah added 18 points - all of those coming on six three-pointers - for Georgia, while Baker and Cori Chambers chipped in 12 apiece. Dee Forrest led Ole Miss with 12 points, while Armintie Price scored 11, seven fewer than her season average.

"It's been really hard for us to play the way we played tonight," Andy Landers said. "To score inside and out, to play good defense…there's really not a whole lot not to be happy about tonight."

Baker took over sole control of Georgia's career steals record early in the game. She deflected a pass on the perimeter less than two minutes in and scored on a layup at the other end. That represented her 343rd steal as a Lady Bulldog, moving her past the mark she shared with five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards entering the contest.

"It's a great accomplishment not just because Teresa was a great player but because she was a great player who played at Georgia 20 years ago," Landers said. "We've had a lot of great players since Teresa but no one has really come close to that mark before Sherill. I'm very happy for her."

Darrah's six threes accounted for half of Georgia's dozen field goals made from behind the arc. The Lady Bulldogs' single-game record is 13 threes.

"Good shooters got good shots and knocked them down," Landers said. "I'm not surprised. We have good shooters and when they get hot and stroke it we can really knock it down."

Ole Miss took the first significant lead of the night midway through the first half. After Georgia grabbed a 16-13 edge on a long three by Janese Hardrick, the Lady Rebels reeled of 11 unanswered points over a span of just 2:35.

Humphrey helped Georgia respond, scoring 10 straight to give the Lady Bulldogs a 26-24 advantage with 5:43 left in the half. At that point, Georgia's outside shots began falling as well. Chambers and Darrah each hit a pair of three-pointers to help the Lady Bulldogs gradually build a 41-36 halftime lead, which also represented Georgia's largest edge of the game at that point.

The Lady Dogs started the second half quickly as well, building an 11-point advantage less than two and a half minutes into the stanza. Ole Miss closed to three points at 55-52, but Darrah answered with a three and Baker scored on a steal a layup to give Georgia its breathing room back.

Baker finished the night with six steals to up her career tally to 348. In the process, she passed current LSU head coach Pokey Chatman to move into the No. 4 position among the SEC's all-time steals leaders. She is now just 24 shy of the league record.

The Lady Bulldogs will play their first home game in nearly a month this Sunday when they host Florida at Stegeman Coliseum at 2:30 p.m. Georgia's last home game was 106-34 win over Savannah State on Dec. 10, the largest margin of victory in Lady Dog history.

Sunday's game will include "Hairy Dawg's Birthday Beach Bash." The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a luau t-shirt and lei. In addition, kids can get their photo taken with Dora The Explorer from 1-2:30 p.m., and the first 500 kids will receive an invitation to Hairy Dawg's birthday party after the game.

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