ATHENS, Ga. — For the first time in 2 1/2 weeks, senior point guard Ashley Houts had a bounce in her step.
Coach Andy Landers calls it a “little cutie-pie thing,” and it was on display Sunday as Houts scored 24 points in leading No. 19 Georgia to a 76-42 win over Alabama.
Georgia (20-6, 7-6 Southeastern Conference) started the season 18-1, including a 53-50 win over then No. 3 Tennessee Jan. 21. But Houts sprained her ankle in that game, and aggravated it a week later against Mississippi State.
The Lady Dogs lost five of six since beating the Lady Vols, and Houts scored eight of fewer points in the last five of those games.
But Houts hit a career-high six 3-pointers against Alabama, including five in the first half in sparking Georgia to its most offensive game in conference play.
“It felt great,” said Houts of her sore ankle. “Now we have some days off to get our feet back under us.”
Landers’ said that Houts’ bum ankle has affected everything about her game.
“It has affected her defense and her penetration. It has affected her shooting when she has gotten into crowds after she has penetrated. That is where I have seen it the most,” he said.
Her success was contagious as Georgia hit a season-best 12 of 22 3-pointers, one off the school record.
“Today you could see the kids shooting with confidence,” said Landers. “They were not shooting because they open. They were shooting because they were making them.”
Porsha Phillips scored 13 for Georgia, and Jasmine James added 12.
Ericka Russell led Alabama (10-15, 2-10 SEC) with 13 points. Alyson Butler added 10. Leading scorer Tierney Jenkins was held to six points, half her average.
“The first five minutes of the game really dictated the tempo,” said Alabama Coach Wendell Hudson. “Georgia was making every shot and getting every loose ball. We were not ready. We sort of stood around and watched them. We didn’t have any sense of urgency.”
Houts scored 11 points in the first six minutes as Georgia took a 15-6 lead.
“It gave a lot of confidence to other people who had been struggling,” Houts said.
Georgia led 40-23 at the half after not having scored more than 53 points in any of its last three games.
It was just their third 40-point half in their last 19 games.
Georgia center Angel Robinson played 11 minutes after sitting out the last game. She suffered a blow to the head in a game a week ago. Landers said she could have played more if the game had dictated it.