Hassell takes beating, dishes one out in UGA win over Tech

ATHENS --  Jasmine Hassell survived what she described as a cat fight. The gauze stuck in her right nostril and smudge of blood on her white jersey were visible mementos of her battle with Georgia Tech’s large and physical post players.

Hassell looked like she had took the worst of it, but her career-high 24 points propelled Georgia to a 75-68 victory over the Yellow Jackets on Sunday at Stegeman Coliseum.

She helped the 15th-ranked Lady Bulldogs (7-1) remain perfect at home against Georgia Tech, improving to 14-0 all-time in Athens. Georgia also has never lost to the Yellow Jackets(5-3) in consecutive years and improved to 30-4 in the series. Georgia Tech won 69-53 in Atlanta last season.

“This feels great,” Hassell said. “Last year we didn’t want it as much as they wanted it. We came out ready and prepared. We wanted the win.”

She scored 10 of her points in a 17-8 run that extended the Lady Bulldogs’ lead to 63-51 with 6:47 remaining in the game.

Hassell, a 6-foot-2 forward, used a variety of moves to muscle her way to the basket around 6-5 Sasha Goodlett and 6-4 LaQuananisha Adams.

“She did amazing for us,” Georgia guard Jasmine James said. “Whether rebounding, disrupting Goodlett on the other end. When she gets her mind set that she’s going to go in there and she’s going to be aggressive and she’s going to score, she is a beast. She was really big for us. She made some baskets at some very crucial points for us.”

Hassell, who said she was hit in the nose with about a minute left in the game, was 9-for-10 from the floor, 6-for-7 from the free-throw line and had six rebounds.

“It’s not necessarily the points that are all that important, it’s the [90] percent,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said. “When you’re putting on a run and you go back-to-back-to-back and you got somebody who isn’t missing, you can pop a big lead up there pretty quick. If she was touching it, it was going down. That’s what was impressive.”

The Lady Bulldogs appeared to be on their way to the win thanks to that run, but the Yellow Jackets chopped the lead to 71-63 on Metra Walthour’s 3-pointer with 1:21 remaining.

Georgia missed five consecutive free throws and Walthour hit another trey to cut the lead to 71-68 with 32.9 seconds left before Meredith Mitchell and Hassell combined to hit four free throws for the final margin.

The Lady Bulldogs didn’t score from the field after Hassell’s layup with 2:25 left.

“I thought we showed a lot of resiliency down the stretch, never gave up and continued to make plays,” Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. “It was too little, too late, but obviously I thought Georgia did a great job of scoring.”

Goodlett and Tyaunna Marshall and a full-court press helped the Yellow Jackets control parts of the first half and go into halftime tied at 33. They outrebounded Georgia 26-22 in the first half and 47-42 for the game, but committed 20 turnovers and shot only 38 percent from the field (27 of 71).

Marshall and Goodlett each finished with 19 points, and Goodlett had 12 rebounds.

“Our losses don’t define us,” Goodlett said. “Our character is what defines us. We’ve lost three tough games, but we’re not seeking out to play teams that we can beat up on. We’re trying to find teams that can make us better. If it wasn’t for our two losses in San Juan, we wouldn’t have been ready for this game. … Every loss we’ve had, we’ve come back stronger and tougher.”