UGA’s Jasmine Hassell comfortable in Tech’s new basketball home

Georgia women’s basketball coach Andy Landers was joking when he suggested that a Jasmine Hassell banner ought to hang in Georgia Tech’s new basketball arena, but UGA’s senior forward is no joke when the Lady Bulldogs play the Yellow Jackets.

She scored a season-high 22 points Sunday afternoon on white-hot 10-for-13 shooting while Tech was ice cold much of the game as No. 8/9 Georgia (9-0) won 60-50 in McCamish Pavilion in a game the Lady Bulldogs never trailed.

Hassell last year scored a career-high 24 points against Tech on 9-for-10 shooting in a 75-68 UGA win.

“We did lose here my sophomore year. It feels great to win here my senior year,” said Hassell, who added seven rebounds. “[The ball] came inside a lot, but I think we just executed. It wasn’t necessarily the game plan.”

On the flip side, the Jackets (3-4) Sunday missed 39 of their first 47 shots.

Georgia led 27-14 at halftime after the Jackets made just 6-of-30 shots. Tech missed 15 of its first 17 shots in the second half, too, while falling behind by as big a score as 42-24 on Hassell’s layup with 9:41 left in the game.

Tech struggled so badly that leading scorer Dawnn Maye, who averaged 17.7 points in the Jackets’ first six games, did not score until she hit a runner in the lane with 4:36 left in the game. That merely pulled the Jackets to within 49-34. Maye missed her first seven shots and her last, and didn’t score again.

Freshman Aaliyah Whiteside led the Jackets with 14 points in her first start for Tech, and junior Ty Marshall had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Jackets, however, have never scored fewer points against Georgia at home. The previous low came in a 91-51 loss at Tech in 1980.

After losing Wednesday at No. 13/14 Purdue, and with a game Thursday at No. 4 Duke (not to mention losses already to No. 16/14 Tennessee and to Syracuse), Tech looked a bit out of sorts in the midst of a three-game stretch against top 15 opponents.

“I thought the fact that [UGA] continued to switch defenses … really bothered our young players,” said Tech coach MaChelle Joseph. “When you’re counting on freshmen against a top 10 team, it’s a difficult early season schedule and I have to take responsibility for that … we bit off more than we could chew.”

White’s third and final 3-pointer capped a 14-3 run by Tech, and the Jackets made 11 of their final 16 shots as their defense bothered the Lady Bulldogs to create offensive chances.

That trey pulled the Jackets to within 54-48 with 1:51 left in the game, and a subsequent UGA turnover offered Tech hope.

The Jackets turned it right back over, however, on a steal by Georgia junior Khaalidah Miller. She made four straight free throws over the final 32 seconds sandwiched around a jumper by Tech’s Whiteside.

Miller added 11 points, and was one of 10 Lady Bulldogs to score.

“We’re a lot deeper [this season]. That makes things a lot better,” said UGA coach Andy Landers. “Defensively, I think we’re pretty good … and the big thing is managing people. It’s so important to team chemistry. You can’t get better if everybody is not on the same page.”

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