ATHENS, Ga. – Juniors Charity Ford and Ashley McCray came off the bench to lead the Arkansas Razorbacks to a historic victory over the University of Georgia, 77-64, before 6,980.
Arkansas snapped several streaks with the win over the Bulldogs. Moving to 13-11 on the season and 2-8 in SEC play, the victory was the first in school history at Stegeman Coliseum for a SEC game. The Razorbacks only other win at Georgia came during the 1990 NCAA Tournament.
“That was as hard fought a win as we have had all year,” UA head coach Tom Collen said. “We played mentally and physically tough, especially for a young team in front of a huge crowd.”
Ford had a career high 22 points off the bench, scoring the majority of her points down the stretch. Freshman Ceira Ricketts had a points-assists double-double with 13 points and 10 assists.
“Charity stuck big shot after big shot,” Collen said. “Ceira didn’t have the best shooting day, but she kept making plays and got the assists today.”
It was also the first win was the first in February for Arkansas since Feb. 17, 2005, snapping a 27-game losing streak in the month.
Georgia drops to 15-9 on the year, and 5-4 in SEC games.
Arkansas got 40 points from its bench while Georgia had only five from its substitutes. Along with Ford, McCray added 15 points with seven rebounds. The Razorbacks also shot a SEC season best 10-of-24 from three-point range, with Ford leading the way with 4-of-7 from behind the arc. Arkansas also outrebounded Georgia, 41-33.
Defense dominated the second half as the teams combined for two field goals in the opening five minutes. Arkansas cracked the Bulldog defense first, putting together a 7-0 run off a three-pointer from Shanita Arnold and a McCray turnaround to lead 44-43 with 11:21 left in the game.
The teams traded buckets until Ricketts sparked Arkansas with a layup, then her second steals which led to kick-out assist on a three-pointer, this time to Ford. McCray backed up the trey with another layup to give the Razorbacks 7-0 run and a five-point lead, 52-47, with 8:09 left.
Following a timeout by Georgia, the Bulldogs pulled back within one, 52-51, but Angel Robinson picked up her fifth foul of the game. With the 6-5 Bulldog post on the bench, McCray was able to roam free on the inside as Arkansas maintained the lead for the rest of the way.
“We did a great job defensively on Robinson,” Collen said. “Once she was on the bench, it opened things up for McCray. We just pounded it inside to her in the second half.”
Robinson came into the game averaging 10.8 points and 8.7 rebounds. The junior post finished with only three points.
McCray’s 15th point gave Arkansas a five-point spread, 64-59, with 3:04 left. From there, the game went into Ford’s hands. The junior scored 10 of Arkansas’ final 13 points of the game as the Razorbacks closed the contest with a 13-3 run.
Arkansas’ hot hand from the perimeter frustrated the Bulldogs and kept the Razorbacks close after the first half, 35-32. The Hogs hit 6-of-14 from behind the line, with Brereton leading the way with 2-of-2 in the first half.
Ricketts sank her first two shots of the game as the Razorbacks jumped out to an 8-0 lead from the tipoff. The Bulldogs struggled to find their shot early, missing the first six attempts before Houts got hot to almost single-handedly bring Georgia back into the game.
The junior point guard for Georgia scored eight of the Bulldogs’ first 10 points to pull close to the Razorbacks. Arkansas stayed in the lead until a steal and coast-to-coast layup by Houts opened a Georgia rally. The Dogs used a 10-5 run to gain the lead, but consecutive three-pointers from Brereton and Ford put the Razorbacks on top, 25-23, with 5:07 left.
Unfortunately, Arkansas would not score for the next two and a half minutes while Houts directed an 8-0 run to put Georgia ahead, 31-25.
Houts led all scorers in the first half with 16 to Brereton’s 10 for Arkansas.
For the game, Brereton finished with 12 points for Arkansas. Houts led the Lady Bulldogs with 18 points. Angel Puleo and Porsha Phillips each had 13 and Christy Marshall had 12.
Arkansas returns home to Fayetteville for a two-game home stand beginning Thursday with South Carolina at 7 p.m.