ATHENS, Ga. -- In a matchup of two very good defensive teams, Georgia's was just a little bit better than Mississippi State's to pull off the upset victory.
Shacobia Barbee had 17 points and 11 rebounds to help the Lady Bulldogs top the No. 10 team in the country 47-43 on Thursday night.
It was a particularly big win for Georgia (14-5, 4-2) as the team didn't get off to a good start in league play and played poorly in a 64-50 loss last Sunday against Alabama, the only conference game it has played thus far against an unranked team.
"If we come out here and feel sorry for ourselves, Mississippi State could put 75 or 80 on us," Georgia coach Joni Taylor said. "I knew if we played well and defended and we knew they were going to defend us, that it was going to be a game in the 40s.
"Our key was to make them play a halfcourt game. They score off defensive pressure and lead the league in turnovers with 24 or 25 a game. We knew we had to take care of the ball and not give them easy buckets in transition and force them to play a halfcourt game."
With both teams specializing on defense, it wasn't expected to be a high-scoring affair, and nobody was terribly surprised neither team managed to hit the 50-point mark.
Sophomore Victoria Vivians, the SEC's leading scorer, led Mississippi State (17-3, 4-2) with 20 points. No other player for Mississippi State scored more than five points besides sophomore point guard Morgan William, who finished with seven points.
"They really did a great job defending us," Mississippi State coach Vic Shaefer said of Georgia. "We probably set the game back 30 years in the first half offensively. I was proud of our kids for hanging in there and continuing to compete."
Although Mississippi State was the highest-ranked team Georgia (14-5, 2-4) has bested this season, Barbee felt she and her teammates have played better. The Lady Bulldogs defeated then-No. 21 Seton Hall 70-52 on Dec. 6 and defeated then-No. 20 Florida 71-61 on Jan. 14.
"I think Seton Hall was one of our biggest wins because we played as a team that entire game and everyone's offense was clicking," Barbee said. "Tonight was a very big win, but we've got to do better on offense.
Our defense looked good and our transition game was good, but our offense in the halfcourt needs to click, because people are going to stop letting us run in transition and that's something we need to focus on."
The two teams were tied 9-9 at the end of the first quarter and Georgia outscored Mississippi State 8-5 in the second quarter to take a 17-14 halftime lead.
"We probably set the game back 30 years in the first half offensively." Shaefer said.
Georgia: The Lady Bulldogs are now 12-0 when they lead at halftime this season. Georgia held a three-point lead at the half.
Mississippi State: The 43 points scored were the fewest the team has tallied this season, but was the third time the team has scored less than 50 points, all losses. Mississippi State fell to then-No. 6 Texas 53-47 on Dec. 2 and to then-No. 24 Missouri 66-54 on Jan. 14.
Georgia trailed 7-2 in the early going until freshman Robinson was inserted into the game. In the final 1:45 of the first quarter, she scored two layups and then hit a 3-pointer off the glass with 1 second remaining to put Georgia even with Mississippi State at 9-9. Georgia scored the first four points of the second quarter and led for the rest of the game.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"We probably set the game back 30 years the first half offensively." Shaefer, Mississippi State coach.
THE LAST TIME.
The last time Georgia defeated a top 10 opponent came nearly a year ago as it defeated No. 10 Texas A&M 54-51 on Jan. 22, 2015, in Athens.
Georgia hosts LSU on Sunday.
Mississippi State hosts No. 2 South Carolina on Sunday.
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