ATHENS - The University of Georgia women's basketball team topped the Auburn Tigers, 70-59, Thursday night for its last home game of the regular season in Stegeman Coliseum.
Diamond Battles recorded her fifth 20-point scoring performance of the season with a team-leading 21 points and four assists. Brittney Smith followed closely behind with 19 points. Javyn Nicholson tallied her fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and grabbed a team-high 10 boards.
"The players that were here that are seniors now, they took a chance on us and stayed," Georgia head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson said. "I had some team meetings with them right when I got here and just kind of told them my vision, what I saw in them as players, how they would fit into our system and they all really evolved into those players that I kind of told them how they're going to play. It's just been awesome. I wish I had more time to coach them because I feel like every single one of them has gotten better just in the short amount of time that we've been here."
Back-to-back Smith layups opened the first quarter for Georgia (20-9, 9-6 SEC) to build a five-point lead over the Tigers. A pair of blocked shots and an Auburn (14-13, 4-11 SEC) turnover gave life to the Georgia offense. Attacking the paint, the Lady Bulldogs scored 10 of their 13 first quarter points in the key. Five Tiger points closed in on the Lady Bulldogs' lead to close the first frame trailing, 13-9.
The Lady Bulldogs added three points from Battles to their lead at the start of the second quarter and boosted their lead to five, 16-11. The Tigers used a 7-2 run to knot the score at 20 with under four minutes remaining in the first half. Two lead changes and eight-straight Lady Bulldog points gave Georgia a 28-25 lead at the half.
Six Auburn points in the paint had the Tigers trailing by two, 34-32. Free throws from Chloe Chapman, Battles and Nicholson extended Georgia's lead to eight. A 12-4 run gave the Lady Bulldogs a 10-point lead, 48-38. A triple from Battles boosted Georgia ahead as Auburn trialed, 54-43, heading into the final frame.
Short scoring runs for the Lady Bulldogs gave Georgia a 12-point lead before four unanswered Tigers points had Auburn trailing by eight. Auburn used a 9-4 scoring run to inch closer to Georgia's lead, but free throws from Smith and Battles solidified the Lady Bulldogs' 70-59 game-winning advantage.
Georgia will now travel to Columbia, S.C. to conclude regular season play against the Gamecocks on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 12 p.m. The game will be aired on ESPN2.