Sunday afternoon was a festive occasion at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens. Sunday was Georgia's game to participate in the "Play 4Kay" program to promote breast cancer awareness, research, and support. The Lady Bulldogs were sporting pink uniforms, and the 'Dores wore pink t-shirts for warmups and pink shoes or shoelaces.
In addition, Sunday was also Girl Scout Day, and the troops of girls with pink shakers made their presence known throughout the game.
The pre-game headline in the Athens paper could just as well have been a post-game headline, as the Lady Bulldogs came out with energy and aggression. Jasmine Hassell scored the first basket of the game, and from that point on, the 'Dores played from behind.
All of Stephanie Holzer's 12 points came in the first half as she connected on six of eight field goal attempts.
Georgia's continually aggressive defense made life difficult for Vanderbilt, forcing 13 turnovers in the first half. In the first five minutes, the Lady Bulldogs built an 8-point lead at 10-2.
Vanderbilt fought back to close to cut the lead to four points but soon it was back up to eight points.
A basket by Kady Schrann cut the lead down to just three points at 28-25 with four minutes left in the first half, but Georgia finished the half on a 12-3 run to take a 12-point lead at 40-28 at halftime.
Elan Brown led Vanderbilt in rebounding with ten boards and was one point short of a double double with nine points.
Jasmine Lister dished out seven assists with just two turnovers as she played 40 minutes for the sixth consecutive game.
Early in the second half, the Lady Bulldogs increased their lead to as much as 18 points. Tiffany Clarke, who had scored just one point in the first half, scored ten points in the second half to help the 'Dores fight back.
Midway through the second half, Vanderbilt closed the lead to five points at 52-47, but as it turned out, that was as close as they would get.
Christina Foggie finished the game with 22 points, 15 of them coming in the second half.
In the first half Foggie was 1 for 3 from behind the arc, and in the second half 3 for 5, but it wasn't enough to close the gap, and in the end, Georgia prevailed 76-63.
After the game, while Head Coach Melanie Balcomb talked to Charlie Mattos in the post-game radio interview, Assistant Coach Vicky Picott talked with the post players that had played in the game.
After the game, Coach Balcomb gave Georgia credit for the victory. "I thought they were very prepared; they had all week to prepare for us, and they used that time wisely," she said.
"They were much more aggressive. They took things away from us, and they were really ready to execute against our defense this time. They started off more aggressive, out-worked us and then it was a fight back all the time, and every time we fought back with them and we made a run, they fought right back. I thought they were very well prepared today."
In regard to her own team, Coach Balcomb was most concerned about the mentality in a big road game.
"We weren’t on the same page a lot. Our communication wasn’t good to start the game and our mental toughness wasn't good, things that we were struggling with on the road before we won our last two games," she said. "But this is the first Sunday game in a big environment. We’ve won our games when the environment has not been that way, and we lost some focus tonight and we’re going to have to become a better team on the road."
With the loss, Vanderbilt falls to 19-6 on the season, and 7-5 in the SEC. Next action for the 'Dores will be on Thursday night, when they host the Florida Gators (16-9 overall, 6-6 in the SEC). Game time is 8 p.m.
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Photos copyright 2012 by Whitney D. for VandyMania.com