ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Presbyterian is making the most of its first few games as a Division I program.
After opening the season with a three-point win over Clemson, Presbyterian got routed 66-38 by No. 10 Georgia on Wednesday night.
In their first year as a certified Division I program, the Blue Hose beat the Tigers with a buzzer-beater Sunday. But they trailed the Lady Dogs from the opening tip.
Presbyterian continues its tough three-game opening road trip at No. 3 Duke Saturday. Coach Ronny Fisher said that the stiff competition will help his team.
"The best thing I just told our kids is that it really makes your weaknesses glaring," said Fisher, "and it shows what you need to work on. Unless you play a better team, you don't find that out. So we've obviously got a lot of things we need to work on. That will help us in the long run."
Presbyterian (1-1) turned the ball over 27 times, leading to 26 Georgia (2-0) points, and were outrebounded 40-32.
Shonda Burnside led the team in scoring with just eight points.
"They've obviously got a very good basketball team," said Fisher, "and they've got a very good coach. That's a deadly combination.
"The biggest thing they did is they turned us over. Their pressure hurt us, and their athleticism really hurt us. We got a little tired and really made some mental errors. We just threw the ball to them, and you can't do that against a good team."
Senior forward Jasmine Hassell led Georgia with 14 points and nine rebounds. And freshman Merritt Hempe led a 35-point contribution from the reserves, accounting for 11 points, six rebounds, three steals, three blocks, two assists and no turnovers in a well-rounded performance.
Georgia Coach Andy Landers, who won his 797th game at the school, said that Presbyterian's win over Clemson was no fluke.
"They are pretty good defensively," he said. "They are totally different than what we do. They are experienced, disciplined and well coached."
Georgia dominated in every aspect of the game in the first 20 minutes, controlling the boards 19-11 and forcing 16 turnovers.
The Lady Dogs scored the first four points of the game and steadily pulled away to lead 35-18 at the half.
The same formula worked in the second half when Georgia once again scored the first two baskets of the half and kept way out front throughout the game.
Georgia's depth was a key factor in the game too.
"We have the depth to get after people," said Landers. "We can spend a lot of energy on defense. We have people who can come in and keep doing what we are doing."
Last year Georgia was thin, playing just a handful of players. It was not uncommon for players to play 38 to 40 minutes. Landers is willing to spread the minutes around now.
"As long as it works," he said. "I talked to the players early on and told them they need to get where they can last five minutes and see how much they can get done.
"This is new for everybody," he said. "Our veterans are used to pacing themselves, and the new kids never had to play this hard."