KNOXVILLE, TN — With 6 of their 14 teams ranked in the top-20 nationally, the SEC conference has proven to be ripe with the competition this season — and today’s contest, between Tennessee and Georgia, was no exception.
The Lady Vols stopped the Lady Bulldogs in their tracks today with an astounding 62-45 win on their home court — Georgia’s lowest scoring debut this season.
But, did Georgia jinx it? While both teams face a lot of tough competition during the season, Georgia knew that this game, in particular, would be a challenge. In fact, the Lady Bulldogs made a prediction at the beginning of the season that they would lose. Yes, you read that correctly.
In an interview before the game, Georgia senior Mackenzie Engram revealed that she and her teammates predicted they’d lose to Tennessee today. This pregame prediction process helps the Bulldogs determine and track their goals for the season, Engram said.
The game started out close, as both teams went back-and-forth for the lead. At the end of the first 10 minutes, however, it was Tennessee who led by four points (17-13) at home. Jaime Nared and Meme Jackson combined for 12 of the Lady Vols 15-points, while Engram was responsible for five of Georgia’s 13.
As the second quarter got going, Tennessee remained hot, while Georgia quickly turned cold. The Lady Vols extended their once four-point lead to as many as 21 and remained solid defensively — holding Georgia to a mere 2-17 from the floor.
The Bulldogs went completely scoreless until the fourth minute when Stephanie Paul knocked down two free throws. Georgia’s only two field goals for the quarter both came in the final 30-seconds of the half, making the score 36-20 going into the third stanza.
The Lady Vols continued to be solid defensively and consistent around the basket in the second half. Georgia, however, just couldn't seem to recover or catch up to Tennessee after their second-period meltdown.
Tennessee’s Mercedes Russell came up big with a double-double today (12-points, 14-rebounds) and became the sixth Lady Vol to get 1,000 rebounds today. Nared and Jackson were also key in today’s win for the Lady Vols with 26-points between the two of them.
Georgia now falls to 21-4 overall, while Tennessee improves to 21-4. Tennessee is back at their home court again on Thursday to take on (14-10) Alabama at 5:30 p.m., while Georgia heads back to Athens where they meet another ranked opponent, No. 7 South Carolina, on Thursday at 6 p.m.