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Friday February 12th, 2016 12:47AM

No. 6 Georgia women cruise past Mercer, 80-38

By The Associated Press
ATHENS -- Jasmine Hassell, Jasmine James and Erika Ford scored 12 points each to lead No. 6 Georgia to an 80-38 victory over Mercer on Tuesday.

Khaalidah Miller added 10 points for the Lady Bulldogs, who are 10-0 for the eighth time in program history.

Georgia shot 59 percent from the field (20 for 34) in the second half and was 9 for 15 (60 percent) on 3-pointers overall for its largest victory margin of the season. The Lady Bulldogs are winning by an average of 27.3 points a game.

Kendra Grant led Mercer (4-3) with 16 points, making seven of the Bears' 15 shots from the field.

Georgia had a 34-21 halftime lead and then scored the first nine points of the second half.

That started a 25-5 run that extended the Lady Bulldogs' advantage to 59-26 with 9:43 left in the game.

Hassell and James combined to score eight of Georgia's first 11 points of the second half. That gave the Lady Bulldogs a 45-23 lead, which reached 54-25 on Ford's 3-pointer with 12:35 remaining.

Georgia had 18 steals and forced Mercer into 28 turnovers.

All 11 Georgia players scored in the rout.

The Lady Bulldogs' lead increased to 46 points on Danielle Bennett's 3-pointer with 1:41 left in the game.

The Bears, who are playing without their two leading returning scorers, shot 29 percent (15 for 52) from the field.

Briana Williams, who led the Atlantic Sun Conference in scoring the past two years, is out for the year with a torn ACL and Ry'van Buchanan is out with a meniscus injury. They combined for more than 28 points a game last season.

Mercer stayed close early behind the shooting of Grant, who scored 14 of the Bears' 21 first-half points.

Grant was 6 for 10 from the field, including two 3-pointers, but Mercer was 9 for 27 (33 percent) and Georgia forced the Bears into 13 first-half turnovers.

The Lady Bulldogs built their first-half lead by holding Mercer scoreless for nearly 6 minutes. They turned a 10-9 deficit into a 21-12 lead behind five consecutive points from Ford and Shacobia Barbee's 3-pointer.

After Precious Bridges scored to end Mercer's drought that reached nearly 6 minutes, Tiaria Griffin made a 3 for a 24-14 lead with 6:29 left in the first half.
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