ATHENS — Turnovers finally helped a Georgia team win.
Unlike the football team, which followed a season-long trend and self-destructed with fumbles and interceptions in Saturday’s loss to Kentucky, Georgia’s No. 16 women’s basketball team scored 29 points off 29 turnovers in rallying past Rutgers 49-48 on Sunday.
Ashley Houts scored 17 points to help Georgia (3-0) overcome a 12-point deficit down the stretch. Georgia trailed 44-32 with 7:14 to play after Rutgers freshman Monique Oliver’s layup.
Houts answered with a 3-pointer to ignite a 15-2 Georgia run. A 3-pointer by freshman Anne Marie Armstrong put Georgia ahead 47-46 with 2:04 to play.
Georgia coach Andy Landers gave credit to walk-on freshman Candace Williams, who played 8 minutes during the comeback and contributed nothing that showed on the stat sheet.
“She came in and reactivated the top of the zone,” he said. “That started our comeback.”
Georgia won despite shooting 26 percent from field and being outrebounded 45-31. But Rutgers (2-2) shot just 38 percent and got only 10 opportunities from the free-throw line.
“We are as good defensively as they are,” Landers said. “In a game like this, it usually comes to free throws, rebounding and turnovers.”
Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer saw the outcome the same way.
“In a game like this, we needed to reduce a lot of things, especially the turnovers,” she said. “It would have helped a lot if we had had a point guard.”
Point guard Khadijah Rushdan injured her knee with 3:41 to play and Rutgers clinging to a 46-41 lead. She had to be helped off the floor and did not return.
Armstrong and Jasmine James, another freshman, followed with back-to-back 3-pointers, the second with 2:04 to play, to put Georgia up 47-46.
The teams traded stops before Rutgers thought it had a backcourt violation on Houts with 11.2 seconds to play, but the officials ruled that it was an inadvertent whistle and gave the ball to Georgia.
Houts was subsequently fouled and made two free throws with 8.9 seconds remaining, making it 49-46.
Rutgers’ Mya McCurdy hit a quick jumper with 2.5 seconds to play, but from inside the 3-point line, closing the gap to the final margin.
Rutgers’ April Sykes intercepted Georgia’s last inbound pass near midcourt with less than 3 seconds to play, but her 30-foot heave clanged off the rim at the buzzer clanged.
Rashidat Junaid led Rutgers with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Meredith Mitchell scored a career-high 11 points for Georgia.
The game was physical.
Georgia’s Porsha Phillips took an elbow to the mouth 30 seconds into the game. Also, center Angel Robinson left the game on a spine board with 9:02 to play after banging her head on the floor and complaining of neck pain. She was transported to a local hospital for an exam.