Athens, GA -- The Georgia Bulldogs' bark was muzzled from the start, but their bite back and chased down the Razorbacks to leave a statement for their last home conference game.
With one of the offensive threats, Schacobia Barbee, out of the equation due to surgery from suffering a fractured left distal fibula against Florida, the Lady Dawgs did their part in the end to make sure they came out with a victory.
Both teams came out with a slow start, and that is how the remainder of the quarter proceeded. It was evident that Barbee was missing from the puzzle. With Georgia struggling with depth, the Lady Dawgs could not find their rhythm offensively against the Razorbacks' man-to-man matchup. They shot 26% from the floor without seeing the foul line the entire first quarter.
Coach Joni Taylor said, "We just weren't settled the first and second quarter, and that's going to happen when you don't have Schacobia out there to direct and lead and do things defensively to get us going, so we were happy to only be down by two at halftime. We were taking shots that were necessarily in our rhythm that we practiced.
Georgia started Arkansas in their strong 1-3-1 zone, which caused them to miss five shots in a row before making a bucket; however, to start off the second quarter, the Razorback's forward, Jessica Jackson, was not afraid to step out the paint and knock down her second three of the game.
Coming from her career high game (28 pts) against Florida last Sunday, Tiaria Griffin could not get a feel for her shot in the first half; however, giving the Lady Dawgs a 6-0 run, Griffin tried to get her momentum going by stealing the ball to take her own fast break.
Missing opportunities underneath the basket, Caliya Robinson lobbed it to Hempe in the paint giving her a clear view to score, but she was not able to finish. Luckily, Pachis Roberts was there to clean it up able to clean it up closing out the half 24-26.
With her foot on the gas pedal, Devin Cosper showed no mercy against the ball as she readily attacked the basket to help keep Arkansas in the game.
Georgia takes the 2pt lead (40-38) as Griffin rips through the rips through a clear lane to get off a nice layup. Even though Barbee was not in the game, her presence was still there. Griffin said, "She just wants to get us hype, and give us a lot of energy, bring a voice to the team, and try to get us to do a little better than the next time."
In the final quarter, Hempe realized that she had to wake up in her last game at Stegeman Coliseum. Fighting in the paint, she was able to give her team back-to-back points. Hempe was substituted out for Robinson, and she did not let up the energy.
Roberts and Griffin did a phenomenal job finding her underneath, so she can dominate in the paint forcing Arkansas to call a timeout when seeing the scoreboard 60-45.
With less than a minute left, the seniors Griffin, Butter, and Hempe got a standing ovation as they walked away with a 72-57 win to finish their home game career strong.
Arkansas tried to finish out strong, but Robinson Restlessly blocked Briunna Freeman's shot.
While sitting on the bench, Hempe reflected on Robinson's game and said "Caliya played amazing. Her blocking those shots, I mean geez how athletic she looked tonight! And literally in my head, I was like, "This is the future of Georgia Basketball, so it was just amazing to see that!"
Georgia will finish their last regular season game at Tennessee on February 28th.