Posted December 21, 2013 on AP on Fox
Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer was hoping her team would be ready for a Top 25 challenge. The Scarlet Knights answered with a thrilling 61-58 victory over No. 16 Georgia. Kahleah Copper and Betnijah Laney each scored 18 points to help Rutgers hand Georgia its first loss of the season. ''We needed to have our confidence as this is a young group,'' Stringer said. ''This is a major game to find out how well we're going to play at that level.'' Rutgers (9-2) lost its only other game against a ranked opponent this season, falling to LSU. The Scarlet Knights also had added incentive after losing at Georgia last year. ''We try not to look too far ahead,'' said Laney, who also had 10 rebounds. ''When it came up it was something we were looking forward to because we lost to them last year. This time we were at home and didn't want to be mad for Christmas.'' Rutgers led by four at the half and the Scarlet Knights couldn't build on that early in the second half. Georgia took its first lead of the game, 46-45, on a three-point play by Tiaria Griffin with 7:25 left. The Scarlet Knights answered with six straight points to make it 51-46 with 5 minutes left. Rutgers led 59-52 with 21 seconds left before Shacobia Barbee hit a 3-pointer to make it a four-point game. After a missed free throw by Syessence Davis, Barbee swished another 3 from the top of the key to make it 59-58 with 7 seconds left. Tyler Scaife hit two free throws with 5.9 left and Khaalidah Miller's 3-pointer from 35-feet at the buzzer bounced off the front rim. Barbee finished with a season-high 18 points - 17 of them in the second half - to lead Georgia (11-1), which had 24 turnovers. ''We weren't executing and something we learned was that we need to take care of the ball every possession,'' Barbee said. This was only the second trip out of the state of Georgia for the Lady Bulldogs, who played at Belmont earlier this month. The Lady Bulldogs got off to a tough start turning the ball over on their first six possessions. They didn't score their first points until Erika Ford's jumper from the wing nearly 6 minutes into the game. ''I'm proud of the fact that we didn't fold,'' Georgia coach Andy Landers said. ''They handed it to us the first five or six minutes and we got our balance and fought back. From that point on really played pretty decent.'' Georgia battled back to tie the game at 27 on Miller's 3-pointer. Rutgers led 31-27 at the break. This was the Lady Bulldogs first trip to Rutgers since the 2008 season when the two teams met in the Jimmy V Classic. Rutgers came away with a 45-34 victory. The Scarlet Knights will open up American Athletic Conference play next Saturday at South Florida. Rutgers is in the new conference for one season before heading to the Big Ten next year. Georgia closes its non-conference schedule against Lipscomb before starting SEC play at Vanderbilt on Jan. 2. ''As everyone knows the SEC is a tough league with Kentucky and Tennessee in there,'' Miller said. ''We knew it would be a really good game against a really good team and it's what we'll see in the SEC as well.'' --- Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Basketball Scouting Report: Rutgers

Not much has gone well for Rutgers basketball in the past month... or the past year... or the past few decades. Rutgers hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 1991, and it hasn't won an NCAA tournament game since 1983. A program that has only one great season to its credit, a run to the 1976 Final Four, is starting from scratch this season. Army gets a chance to knock off...

Longa Liking New Defensive Plan

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers' defense had a trying season that culminated with the defensive coordinator being fired and Joe Rossi taking over on an interim level. With all the changes and the Pinstripe Bowl looming, middle linebacker Steve Longa gave his thoughts on the defense and the mind set of the unit.

Mack Carries Rutgers to Victory

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Myles Mack took over in the final seconds of a tight contest against Army. Hitting an NBA-range three-pointer with three second left, Mack propelled Rutgers to a 75-72 victory in its final game of 2013.

SR.com TV: Players React to Mack's Dagger

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Myles Mack took over for Rutgers in the final minutes of a tight 75-72 victory Sunday over Army. Mack scored the last six points for the Scarlet Knights, including an NBA-range three-pointer to win it.
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.