Feb. 24, 2011
ATHENS, Ga. - A 20-point effort from freshman Khaalidah Miller wasn't enough to push the No. 22 Georgia women's basketball team over Auburn, as the Lady Bulldogs fell 63-58 to the visiting Tigers Thursday night in Stegeman Coliseum on Senior Night.
Miller scored 20 points for the third time in her short career - on the strength of a career-high six three-pointers - and senior Porsha Phillips added 13 points in the setback to go along with her 12 rebounds in collecting the double-double.
Auburn's Alli Smalley led the way with 22 points while Morgan Jennings and Blanche Alverson each had 10.
Georgia falls to 20-8 (10-5) while the Tigers improve to 15-13 (8-7). It was the Lady Bulldogs' first home loss to Auburn since 1993.
"We were careless and sloppy with the basketball," said head coach Andy Landers. "We made bad decisions that ended up as turnovers, and they scored 20 points off of those turnovers. That just killed us. In spite of that, we could have won if we hit a decent percentage on uncontested shots under the basket, but we didn't tonight. When you put those two things together, you're not going to win."
The Lady Bulldogs held a four-point advantage, 28-24, at the intermission and led by as many as eight in the first half after sophomore Anne Marie Armstrong hit a jumper to follow a pair of free throws for Phillips that put Georgia in front 26-18 with 3:03 to go before halftime.
Auburn trimmed the Georgia lead to just one, 31-30, with 17:57 to go in the second half, but the Lady Bulldogs ran it back out to a seven-point cushion, 43-36, with 13:49 left. It would become a see-saw battle from there, as the Tigers tied it on a three from Smalley and took the lead, 45-43, on a lay-up from the senior with 11:01 on the clock.
The teams matched one another over the next four minutes until Auburn broke the streak and converted on back-to-back buckets - including another three from Smalley - to lead by four, 55-51, with 6:04 left. The contest was tied for the fifth time, 55-55, on yet another Miller three and for the sixth time, 58-58, on an old-fashioned three-point play for Phillips with just 1:31 left.
But Smalley's heroics continued for the Tigers as she hit a lay-up on the run and was fouled, making her attempt at the line to push Auburn in front by three, 61-58, with 1:17 on the clock.
Miller attempted a three with 46 seconds left and Hassell grabbed the rebound to reset the shot clock for Georgia, but Jasmine James missed another long-range look before Hassell pulled the rebound down and Phillips turned the ball over to give it back to Auburn with 22 seconds remaining.
Georgia would get the ball back on a Tiger turnover, but couldn't convert on a last shot and had to foul, setting up a pair of late free throws for Smalley to seal the five-point win for the Tigers.
Georgia led narrowly in the rebounding column, 36-33, but ended the night shooting just 36 percent to Auburn's 49. Smalley finished 8-of-14 on the evening.
Prior to tonight's meeting, Georgia had won 11 of the last 15 contests and still leads the all-time series 23-16 and 15-4 in Athens.
The Lady Bulldogs are still in the running for one of the four first-round byes at next weekend's SEC Tournament. Georgia could occupy anywhere from the No. 2 to No. 5 seed in Nashville. Closing out the regular-season will be Sunday's 2 p.m. start at Florida.