ATHENS — Georgia coach Andy Landers made a change to the starting lineup, inserting two new faces for Sunday’s game against South Carolina.
But in the end it was point guard Ashley Houts, starting in her 16th game, who rescued the Lady Bulldogs, averting the first four-game losing streak for Georgia under Landers.
Houts scored 13 points, including the last six in the final 1:11 to lead Georgia (10-6, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) to a 69-63 win over South Carolina (8-7, 0-2).
The game was tied at 63 with 1:35 to play after a 3-pointer from the left corner by South Carolina’s Lakeisha Sutton.
After Houts’ layup, Sutton tried to match her on the other end, but Georgia’s Christy Marshall drew a charge. South Carolina was forced to foul, and Houts hit four free throws to seal the win for Georgia.
"As a point guard, it is always kind of a mentality to have the ball in your hands, especially at the end of the game," Houts said.
Landers said Houts was in control through most of the game.
"I thought Houts played very well today," said Landers. "Not only offensively, but also defensively. She did a good job in handling the ball throughout the game. The best thing for her was that she was in control of herself, she was in control of her team, and for the most part, she felt like she was in control of the Coliseum."
Angel Robinson and Porsha Phillips scored 14 apiece to lead Georgia.
Brionna Dickerson led the Gamecocks with 19 points and Sutton added 18.
"We just beat ourselves," South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. "We were not disciplined enough, and Georgia took advantage of that."
Houts has now played all 40 minutes in five straight games and in seven of the last eight.
"Regardless of who was on the floor, we were all conscious of what we needed to do," Houts said. "We all fought hard."
Marshall and Phillips were benched after starting the first 15 games of the year. Getting their first career starts were Jaleesa Rhoden and Danielle Taylor. Taylor had played 74 games at Georgia, but never started.
"They changed the lineup," said Landers. "They made the decision, and I reacted to their decision. Christy has not practiced or played well, and Porsha has been complacent."
"I didn’t mind. He had to change up the lineup a little bit," Phillips said. "Sometimes you have to change in the middle of the season."
Landers said he was pleased with the play of his team, but not completely.
"We made some of the same mistakes, like turnovers in the middle of the floor," he said. "If we clean up some of those things, we probably win by 12."
The win was also Landers’ 799th career victory.