GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman's women's basketball team will tip off its most challenging road stretch of the 2012-13 season on Wednesday when it makes the 90-mile trek to Athens to take on the nationally eight-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. at Stegeman Coliseum.
Following the matchup with the Bulldogs, the Paladins will tip off Southern Conference play at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday at Chattanooga before heading down to Birmingham for a Monday, 8:00 p.m. ET clash with SoCon defending tournament champion Samford. Furman will wrap up the four-game road stretch on Dec. 9 at South Carolina.
Wednesday's contest at Georgia will mark only the ninth all-time meeting on the hardwood between the Paladins and Bulldogs, who extended their series perfection to eight games last year with an 83-58 triumph over Furman in Athens. Anne Marie Armstrong's 19 points led a contingent of four double figure scorers for Georgia. Jánice Roberts, meanwhile, tallied a career high 15 points for Furman.
Georgia, which remained perfect on the 2012-13 season with a 72-42 road drubbing of New Mexico on Saturday, has posted impressive double figure winning margins in six of its triumphs, the lone exception coming in a season opening 57-51 home win over Rutgers on Nov. 11. The Bulldogs sport a very balanced lineup led by a pair of Jasmine's — senior forward Jasmine Hassell (12.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and senior guard Jasmine James (10.9 ppg) — both natives of Tennessee. Five others are averaging over 6.0 ppg for Georgia, which has limited the opposition to just 34.4 percent shooting from the field while claiming a +9.3 rebounding margin thus far this season.
Furman is paced in scoring by senior guard Teshia Griswold (19.5 ppg). Brittany Hodges tops the Paladins in rebounding (6.5 rpg).
In the Paladins' latest outing, Griswold scored 17 points and Erica Norwood came of the bench in the second half to provide a defensive spark and tally 11 points to help Furman past Mercer, 73-64, last Saturday at Timmons Arena.
Griswold scored 10 of her 17 points in the first half to lead the Paladins to a 40-29 halftime lead, but it was Norwood's play that proved most decisive, as the freshman guard entered the contest with 13 minutes remaining and the scored tied at 47-47 after the Bears had erased Furman's halftime advantage. Once on the floor the 5-foot-4 Norwood quickly cooled off Mercer guard Precious Bridges, whose seven points — part of her 17-point performance — had helped the Bears open the second half with a 16-2 run to take a 45-43 lead following a Bridges jump shot at the 15:34 mark.
Furman led 63-60 with just over a minute remaining when Norwood was fouled and sent to the free throw line, where she converted a pair of shots for a 65-60 lead on the way to game ending stretch of 10 consecutive made free throws by the Paladin newcomer. Norwood, who tallied all 11 of her points at the line, also added two assists and a steal in 12 minutes of action.
Freshman forward Holli Wilkins is expected to get her first career start for the Paladins against Georgia. Her brother Damien, currently in his ninth NBA season, starred with the Bulldogs (2003-04), as did her uncle, Dominique Wilkins (1980-82), a 15-year NBA veteran who played primarily with the Atlanta Hawks, where he was a nine-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA Slam Dunk champion.
Wednesday's game will be live streamed and broadcast online by StretchAudio through Furman All-Access at www.furmanpaladins.com, with Bryant Lambert on the call. Live stats will be provided through www.furmanpaladins.com and in-game twitter updates via twitter.com/FurmanPaladins