The taste of losing to Texas A&M in last year's NCAA basketball tournament still lingers in the mouths of the No. 12 Georgia Lady Bulldogs.
"Hopefully, we learned something from it," Georgia coach Andy Landers said of the loss. "This team is a lot more aggressive and active than last year's team."
The Lady Bulldogs (2-0) put that new-found aggressiveness on display Tuesday night as they overcame an early deficit to beat Georgia Southern (0-2) 68-49 before a crowd of 1,038.
Jasmine Hassell had 17 points and six rebounds to lead the Bulldogs who also got 16 points each from Jasmine James and Khaalidah Miller.
MiMi DuBose, who grew up just outside of Athens, led the Lady Eagles with 14 points and Janay Wilson added 10.
The Lady Eagles led 15-11 in the early going, but could not sustain the pace against the Lady Bulldogs. Georgia went on a 13-2 run to take the lead for good and limited Georgia Southern to one basket in the final six minutes for a 38-26 halftime lead.
"We got our hands on some balls and ran," Landers said. "We got six to eight points off sets, and I think we scored off each turnover."
Georgia scored 31 points off 24 Georgia Southern turnovers, and Landers said the Lady Bulldogs defense was the difference in the game.
"I thought the defense was very good everywhere except on the ball," Landers said. "Georgia Southern drove it on us and drew fouls. But we were aggressive and we rebounded defensively very well."
Georgia Southern made a run to start the second half, cutting the deficit to 40-32 on a basket by DuBose with 17:30 to play, but the Bulldogs went on a 21-7 streak to all but seal the game.
"They're certainly a more talented and stronger team," Georgia Southern coach Rusty Cram said. "You're never pleased with a loss, but we played good for 31-32 minutes. We're still trying to find who we are."
Anne Marie Armstrong, who scored 22 points in Georgia's season-opening 83-60 win over Texas Christian, had nine points and she and Hassell each had seven rebounds to help the Lady Bulldogs to a 36-30 advantage on the boards.
"She played a solid game," Landers said of Armstrong, a 6-foot-3 junior from Norcross, Ga. "I like our starters, but we've got a lot of work to do with our bench. We've got to develop depth."
Georgia made 29 of 63 shots from the floor while Georgia Southern took only 38 shots, making 15.