Junior guard Khaalidah Miller did not start, but she still finished with a team-high 17 points in Georgia’s 83-47 win over Furman on Wednesday.
Georgia’s bench contributed 42 points, one more than the starters.
“Regardless of whether you start or not, you should play to the best of your ability,” said Miller, who also had six rebounds. “But starting is a privilege, and I think everybody is trying to do that.”
Guards Jasmine James, who started, and Erika Ford, who did not, added 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Forward Anne Marie Armstrong added 12 points and a game-high seven rebounds.
Brittany Hodges, a former standout at Campbell and McEachern high schools, led Furman (3-2) with 15 points, and Teshia Griswold added 14.
An influx of athletic freshmen has given Georgia enough depth to play 11 players regularly, and nine of those at least 16 minutes a game.
“Everybody wants to start,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said. “It is an honor. But to truly be a starter, your teammates have to look at you and say, that is a no-brainer.”
Though Georgia (8-0) dominated the game, Landers said it was the first time this season that he had seen the freshman fail as unit to all play hard.
“We have played a lot of games in a little amount of time,” Landers said. “We are out of practice as far as real sweat and blood. “We are playing everybody 20 minutes a night, every other night, and the conditioning was beginning to drop off.”
Furman played without 6-foot forward Sarah Durdaller, a Walton High School product averaging 15.5 points a game. She was sidelined with a broken foot.
That gave freshman Holli Wilkins her first career start — on the same floor where her brother, Damien, and her uncle, NBA Hall of Famer Dominique, starred for Georgia. She had six points.
“We’ve always been really attached to the school,” said Holli Wilkins, whose father is former NBA player Gerald Wilkins. “My whole family loves UGA.”
Furman coach Jackie Carson said playing without Durdaller forced her young players to the front.
“Holli came in and did a great job,” Carson said. “This is one of those games when you have such a young team, you’re going to take a couple of hits to the head. Georgia did good job of defusing our energy, and we just didn’t bounce back the way that we should.”
Georgia outrebounded Furman 45-35 and scored 36 points off 28 turnovers.
Furman grabbed the early lead at 9-4 on a short jumper by Wilkins with 17:01 to play in the first half.
The Lady Dogs recaptured the lead on a three-point play by Armstrong at 12-11, igniting a 14-2 run. Miller’s 3-pointer at the 11-minute mark put Georgia up 23-12.
Back-to-back 3s by Griswold narrowed Georgia’s margin to 31-24 with 5:13 left in the half.
The Lady Dogs put together a 14-4 run to close the half, including a four-point possession on a layup by James and a putback off her free-throw miss by Ford.
Erica Norwood, another former Campbell High star, hit a 3-pointer with 18:14 to play cut the margin to 47-35, but that was as close as Furman would get.
An 11-2 spurt ended by another Miller 3 with 15:46 to go in the game gave Georgia a 58-37 lead.