Houts took an elbow to her left cheek early in the first half and wobbled to the sideline to gather her bearings.
"I didn’t black out, but it hurt," she said.
When she returned, she punished the Patriots with 17 points, seven steals and five assists, a routine all-around linescore for the 5-foot-6 sophomore point guard.
Senior forward Tasha Humphrey led the scoring for the Lady Dogs with 21 points. It was her 40th game at Georgia with 20 or more points.
Lateisha Wade led George Mason (0-1) with 12 points.
"I feel much more confortable this year," said Houts, Southeastern Conference freshman of the year last season. "I have the confidence now to tell my teammates where they need to be. That’s in the point guard’s job description."
"They’ve got to do it," coach Andy Landers said.
He said that last year, Houts was reluctant like most freshmen to throw her voice around.
"She spent a lot of time last year just wondering if she had the offense figured out," said Landers. "You could tell this year when she came back that she had it because when we were putting things in, she was going ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’."
Landers said he has not put much emphasis on offense so far. Instead, Georgia has worked extensively on defense.
"The last three years our defense has slipped off the page," said Landers.
A thin roster forced Georgia to play conservative defense. Now with a two-deep roster at every position this year, the Lady Dogs want to dominate other teams.
"I think we have got to get better defensively," said Humphrey. "I think we are a step or two in the right direction."
Led by Angel Robinson’s 10 rebounds, Georgia barely won the rebounding battle, 44-42, but scored 25 points off of 26 turnovers.
"The rebounding is not good," Landers said, "but that goes back to on-the-ball defense."
"It takes a lot away from your rebounding when you have to rotate and help on defense," said Humphrey.
George Mason scored only one basket in the first seven minutes of the game, a 3-pointer by Casey Quigley, but Georgia failed to capitalize. Two free throws by Houts gave the Lady Dogs a 10-3 lead with 13:10 to go in half, but the Patriots tied the game at 15-15 with 8:30 to go in the half when Ward hit a short jumper from the baseline.
Georgia finished the half with an 11-4 run, started by Angela Puleo’s 3-pointer.