Houts scores career-high 21, powers Georgia over Vandy

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Georgia won more than just a key conference game Thursday night. The Lady Bulldogs also won some extra free time on Friday.

Ashley Houts scored almost half of her career-high 21 points from the free-throw line, and No. 16 Georgia made 32 of 42 free throws to beat Vanderbilt (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today; No. 14 AP) 83-71.

"What it means is we get out of practice 10 minutes earlier [Friday] because we shot all our free throws tonight," Georgia coach Andy Landers said.

Georgia's 32 free throws made was its eighth-highest total, and its 42 attempts ranks 10th in the program's history.

Georgia broke open a close game with a 10-0 second-half run and then protected the lead by making free throws in the final minutes. Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb used a full-court, trapping defense in an effort to force turnovers or get the Lady Bulldogs to miss free throws.

Despite the pressure from Vanderbilt's defense, Georgia committed only 11 turnovers.

Landers said he was impressed by his team's poise "because they're coming after you, trying to trap you and stop you and we didn't give it up in that situation very often, if even once."

Vanderbilt was called for 31 fouls and had two players foul out and three finish with four fouls.

Houts was 10-for-13 on free throws.

"Free throws down the stretch were key," said Houts, a freshman point guard. "It feels good to be able to pull out a win, especially after a tough loss."

Georgia, coming off a 52-41 home loss to No. 4 Tennessee, regrouped offensively with four players scoring in double figures.

Tasha Humphrey had 18 points, and Janese Hardrick added 17 points, eight rebounds and four steals for Georgia (15-4, 3-2 Southeastern Conference). Hardrick, a senior, matched her career high in rebounds.

Christy Marshall was 7 for 8 from the free-throw line in the last 3 minutes and added 13 points.

Christina Wirth led Vanderbilt (16-3, 3-2) with 16 points. Merideth Marsh, Caroline Williams and Carla Thomas each added 12 points, but couldn't keep the Commodores from falling to 2-2 against ranked teams.

Thomas, fourth in the SEC averaging 17.4 points per game, was 4-for-11 from the field.

Marsh and Wirth fouled out late in the game.

"We were able to hang around, and I was proud of my team for that," Balcomb said. "... It's always tough to come in here and play. We'll find the positives from this game and build on them."

Vanderbilt, led by Williams' nine points on three 3-pointers, led 30-29 at halftime. Georgia shot only 31.3 percent from the field, but stayed close on Humphrey's nine points, also on a season-high three 3-pointers.

"I thought her 3s gave us the confidence to get started," Landers said. "I thought they were huge."

With the 6-foot-3 Humphrey moving her scoring inside, Georgia took the lead early in the second half.

Megan Darrah rebounded a missed free throw by Marshall. Darrah's three-point play, followed by a steal and basket by Hardrick, gave Georgia a 48-39 advantage.

Vanderbilt pulled within 50-46 before Georgia pulled away with its 10-0 run for a 60-46 lead with 6:42 left to play.

"I think the person that sparked us the most in the second half was Hardrick," Landers said. "She had at least six terrific plays defensively. She came out with the ball a number of times and just kept making plays that led to points in transition."