ATHENS — Vanderbilt appeared to be on the verge of collapse in the final minutes with its 16-point lead reduced to one point and its leader on the bench with five fouls.
Then the Commodores' freshmen took over.
Jasmine Lister scored 22 points, including 19 in the second half, and Vanderbilt withstood No. 24 Georgia's late 17-2 run to beat the Lady Bulldogs 69-59 Thursday night.
Lister and another freshman, Stephanie Holzer, scored the final 9 points after Vanderbilt's lead was down to 60-59.
"We've fought through a lot of adversity and a lot of injuries, and now we have an identity about us," said Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb. "We are really starting to just outlast our opponents late in the game, and I love having that identity for us at this point in the season."
Hannah Tuomi had 19 points for Vanderbilt before fouling out with 3:16 remaining.
Vanderbilt (17-7, 8-3 Southeastern Conference) has four straight wins, including back-to-back road ones to move into a tie with Georgia (18-6, 8-3) for second place in the SEC.
Vanderbilt's big lead was 16 points at 58-42 before Georgia scored nine straight points to launch its run.
Meredith Mitchell's free throw with 2:56 remaining cut Vanderbilt's lead to 60-59. Holzer ended the Georgia run with a basket before Lister scored on back-to-back layups.
"Jasmine Lister is fearless and she does some crazy stuff, but I calmed her down and she just responded really well to our coaching and us making changes," Balcomb said. "The freshmen have really grown up nicely, and they have contributed greatly to the success of the team."
One year after ending Georgia's record 16-0 start by beating the Lady Bulldogs in Athens, Vanderbilt again ended a Georgia streak. Georgia was 11-0 at Stegeman Coliseum before its first home loss.
When asked about the implication of the loss in the SEC race, Georgia coach Andy Landers said "It means we've got to go out and win Sunday (at Mississippi). That's just where we're at in the season."
Georgia and Vanderbilt are chasing No. 4 Tennessee, which beat Florida on Thursday night to improve to 11-0 in the SEC.
Porsha Phillips had 12 points and Mitchell and Jasmine Hassell each had 10 for Georgia, which couldn't find an answer on defense against Vanderbilt's inside game. The Commodores outscored Georgia 34-22 in the paint.
"We prepared for the game," Phillips said. "We knew they were going to go inside. We just didn't execute."
Tuomi, a senior, scored in single figures in five straight SEC games before she broke out of her scoring slump with 20 points in the Commodores' 103-97 double-overtime win at Florida on Sunday. She was dominant inside against Georgia, making 8 of 11 shots, most under the basket, and adding a game-high 13 rebounds.
Georgia's last lead was 11-10, but it managed to keep the game close in the first half. Vanderbilt led only 32-27 at the break before Lister made three 3-pointers in the first 7 minutes of the second half to help the Commodores push their lead to double figures.
Angela Puleo, who transferred to Vanderbilt in 2009 after two seasons at Georgia, and Lister made two early 3-pointers.
The Commodores pounded the ball inside to Tuomi, Holzer and Tiffany Clarke the rest of the half.
Holzer had 11 points.