Houts leads Lady Bulldogs' rout of overmatched FIU

MIAMI (AP) -- Ashley Houts doesn't want anyone to think that No. 7 Georgia should be compared with the best teams in school history. It's too early for that.

Houts scored a career-high 24 points and No. 7 Georgia remained undefeated, beating Florida International 70-56 to win the FIU Sun & Fun Classic on Sunday.

Georgia's 12-0 start is the third-best start in school history and tied the mark set by the Lady Bulldogs 1995 Final Four team. Georgia is one of three undefeated teams remaining -- Connecticut and Arkansas are the others.

That's no reason to start thinking about where they might be in March.

"I think the best thing to do is take it one game at a time," Houts said. "We can't look ahead, can't look behind. We need to focus on the game at present."

Houts shot 9-of-14 from the field -- 4-of-5 from 3-point range -- and had four assists and four steals. Angel Robinson added 12 points and six rebounds, and Angela Puleo and Tasha Humphrey each contributed nine points.

"They did a nice job defensively inside," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "Houts was the beneficiary of that at times."

LaQuetta Ferguson led the Golden Panthers (4-9) with 18 points and four 3-pointers. Fanni Hutlassa had 16 points and went 4-of-5 from 3-point range. FIU set a school record with 11 3-pointers, shooting 66.7 percent from 3-point range in the second half.

"I think this game did a lot for us," said Ferguson, the only FIU senior who started. "You see that this young team can play with the best in the nation."

With Georgia up 15, the Golden Panthers cut the lead down to nine with two consecutive 3-pointers by Hutlassa and Monika Bosilj that cut Georgia's lead to 45-36 with 10:04 left. The Lady Bulldogs responded with a 19-8 run, taking a 64-44 lead on Puleo's 3-pointer from the left baseline with 3:23 left. Houts hit two 3-pointers during the run.

"When teams focus on the inside, that leaves room on the outside," Houts said. "It opens up lanes and opens up shooting and we needed to take advantage of that."

FIU opened the second half cutting Georgia's double-digit lead to 37-30 on Ferguson's layup on a give-and-go pass from Jasmine Jenkins. The Lady Bulldogs scored the next six points, taking a 43-30 lead on Houts's 3-pointer with 12:25 left.

Georgia outscored FIU in the paint 33-18 and shot 48 percent in the game. Florida International shot 28.1 percent in the first half, but made 48.1 percent of their shots in the second.

"We were playing three guards now," Russo said. "We needed to get some people in there with a lot of meat on their bones. The skinny ones were not going to do it tonight."