|NCAA Women's Basketball|
No. 9 Georgia women hold off Auburn 61-58
By CHARLES ODUM
ATLANTA (AP) Andy Landers was amazed No. 9 Georgia won despite shooting under 30 percent from the field.
Give at least partial credit to Auburn shooting only 20 percent from the free-throw line.
Jasmine Hassell scored 15 points and Georgia overcame its poor shooting to edge Auburn 61-58 on Thursday night, giving the Tigers their seventh-straight loss.
The Lady Bulldogs, coming off a win at No. 8 Kentucky on Sunday, led 34-22 at halftime. Georgia made only 2 of 16 shots from the field in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Georgia's misses from the field were offset by the Tigers' horrendous shooting from the free-throw line. Auburn made only 3 of 15 free throws, including missing each of its five attempts in the final 3 minutes.
"I'm not sure how well Auburn typically shoots free throws, but 3 of 15, I can definitely say we were able to escape the bullet a little bit," said Georgia's Jasmine James, who had 13 points and five steals.
Auburn began the night 12th in the Southeastern Conference with its 63.7 percent shooting on free throws.
Auburn coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said missed free throws were not the Tigers' only problem. Auburn had 22 turnovers, leading to 21 points for Georgia. The Lady Bulldogs had a 20-13 advantage in offensive rebounds, leading to a 21-6 edge in second-chance points.
"I thought we had a lot of opportunities to win, but we made some crucial mistakes," Williams-Flournoy said. "Costly turnovers, offensive rebounds by Georgia that didn't give us our chances to win the game."
The Tigers lost in Williams-Flournoy's return to Athens. Williams-Flournoy, in her first season at Auburn after eight years at Georgetown, was a Georgia assistant from 1996-2002.
Georgia (20-3, 8-2 Southeastern Conference) reached 20 wins for the 28th time in Landers' 34 seasons as coach.
Auburn (13-10, 2-8) pulled even at 53-53 but never led.
Shacobia Barbee had 14 points for Georgia, which has a four-game winning streak despite its poor shooting. Georgia, frustrated by missed layups, made only 19 of 64 shots overall to finish at 29.7 percent.
"We shot 29 percent from the field and won and that's pretty far-fetched," Landers said.
Asked if the scare was needed after the win at Kentucky, Landers said "We missed 15 to 18 layups. Wow. Do we need a wake-up call for that? I don't know."
Georgia made 19 of 22 free throws.
Hasina Muhammad led Auburn with 20 points, including a 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds remaining to cut Georgia's lead to 60-58. Blance Alverson, who had three 3-pointers, had 16 points. Peyton Davis had 10.
The Tigers fell to 1-5 against ranked teams this season.
Khaalidah Miller had a career-high 25 points in Georgia's 75-71 win at No. 8 Kentucky on Sunday. Miller, a junior, had 10 first-half points as the Lady Bulldogs led 34-22 at halftime.
"When we saw how easy we were scoring early, we kind of fell back after that and lost our focus," James said.
Miller didn't score in the second half and Georgia's momentum was lost in its long procession of missed shots.
"We missed a lot of close-up shots - layups and put-backs," Miller said.
"We were very disappointed in that and coach was very disappointed in that."
The Tigers opened the second half with a 9-2 run. Tra'cee Tanner's basket following her offensive rebound cut Georgia's lead to 36-31, the first of four times Auburn would cut the deficit to five points.
Following a missed jumper by Anne Marie Armstrong, who made only 1 of 11 shots, Muhammad's fast-break basket cut Georgia's lead to three points. A Georgia turnover then set up a layup by Davis, trimming Georgia's lead to 42-41 with 10:34 remaining.
Auburn finally pulled even at 51-51 with 4:35 remaining when Alverson made the first of two free throws. The last tie came at 53-all.
Updated February 7, 2013