Lady Dawgs open up with win over #11 Rutgers

NORMAN, OK - Senior Janese Hardrick and freshman Ashley Houts scored 18 points a piece to lead the No. 9 Lady Dogs (1-0) over the No. 11 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (0-1) 78-69 in the opening game of the State Farm Tip-Off Classic.

"When you take seven kids into a place like this against a talented team like Rutgers you have to be pleased, and I am pleased" said head coach Andy Landers.

The Lady Dogs opened the first half shooting 100 percent over the first 6:50 of action. Houts hit a wide-open three-point jumper at the top of the key to open scoring at 19:22. Hardrick and Cori Chambers and junior Megan Darrah hit threes of their own over the next 3:10 to take the 12-5 lead over the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers tied it up 12-12 at 15:03 off two Lady Dog turnovers. This would be the first of eight ties in the opening half.

A pair of free throws by Houts gave Georgia the lead back at 14:33. The first 20:00 of play saw seven lead changes between the two teams. The Lady Dogs would get their largest lead since the 16:32 mark when they went up 41-36 sparked by a three-pointer from Houts in front of the Rutgers' bench followed by two quick free throws from Hardrick. The Lady Dogs were 7-of-10 from beyond the arc in the half and 75 percent from the free throw line converting on 6-of-8 shots from the charity stripe. The Scarlet Knights would score six straight points to close out the half leading by one point 42-41.

Georgia would not waste any time scoring just 10 seconds into the second stanza off a jumper by Houts. The Lady Dogs would go on a 10-0 scoring run over the first 5:50 to take a 51-42 advantage. Rutgers would begin to chip away at Georgia's lead before tying it up off an Epiphanny Prince lay up at 4:20. The Scarlet Knights would then take their first lead of the half when Prince converted on a lay up off a steal at 3:40.

Hardrick hit a pair of critical free throws at 2:53 to give the Lady Dogs a one-point edge at 66-65. Georgia would find itself at the free throw line five more times before the game was over hitting all 10 attempts. Hardrick hit a lay up off a feed from Darrah to seal the deal for the Lady Dogs with 19 seconds remaining in the contest.

For the game, Georgia shot 91.7 percent from the free throw line, including a perfect 16-of-16 for the second half.

The Lady Dogs will return to the hardwood Wednesday, November 15, when they host North Carolina A&T. Tip off is set for 7:00 p.m. (ET).

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