LEXINGTON, Ky. — Ashley Houts poured a career-high 26 points — including 12 of Georgia’s final 13 — to lead the Lady Bulldogs to a 61-57 win over Kentucky at Memorial Coliseum on Thursday night.
“It was a gutty performance,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said. “We needed someone to gut it out and Ashley did just that. The most impressive piece of it was that they were literally dogging her from end to end trying to keep the ball out of her hands most of the night. She had to work hard just to get the ball and then get it up the floor.”
Porsha Phillips added a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Angel Robinson grabbed 11 board and chipped in nine points.
With the win, Georgia improved to 16-12 on the season and guaranteed the Lady Bulldogs will finish with a winning record for the 30th straight season under Landers. Georgia is one of only four schools in the nation to record a winning record every season since women’s basketball came under the auspices of the NCAA with the 1981-82 season.
The Lady Bulldogs led the entire contest but that did not prevent a great deal of second-half drama. Kentucky pulled within two or one four times, but Georgia answered each threat to stay ahead.
Kentucky methodically trimmed a 10-point halftime deficit to 42-40 with 8:45 left. The Wildcats had possession with a chance to tie, but Houts stole the ball hit a driving layup. After Kentucky answered, Angela Puleo canned a free throw line jumper to put Georgia back up by four.
Kentucky then closed to 46-45 at the 5:34 mark, but a Phillips stickback gave Georgia a three-point lead and ignited an 11-4 surge that put the Lady Bulldogs ahead 57-49 with 1:01 remaining.
After not hitting a three-pointer throughout the game, the Wildcats made consecutive threes trim the margin to 59-57 with 10 seconds left. Houts calmly sank a pair of free throws to make it a two-possession game and seal the win.
Houts hit 8-of-9 free throws in the final 61 seconds and played all 40 minutes for the ninth straight contest.
A balanced offensive attack staked Georgia to an early lead it would hold throughout the first half. Six different Lady Bulldogs scored as Georgia opened up a 14-6 lead 9:29 into the contest.
The Lady Bulldogs pushed that advantage to 14 points less than two minutes later with a Puleo three made it 22-8 at the 8:49 mark. Five straight Kentucky points pulled the Wildcats to within nine before Georgia finally answered with a Robinson layup.
Kentucky closed the gap to single digits two more times in the period before the Lady Bulldogs entered halftime with a 30-20 lead.