March 2, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - South Carolina (23-8) used a 6-0 run late in the second half and connected on 6-of-6 free throws on one-and-one situations down the stretch to upset No. 16 Georgia (22-8), 59-55, in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena.
The Lady Bulldogs lost for the first time during 2011-12 when outrebounding their opposition. Georgia, which was 16-0 entering the game when winning the battle of the boards, collected 38 boards to South Carolina's 33.
"I think the game played out the way we thought it would," Andy Landers said. "It was played hard and defensively, both teams did a reasonably good job of defending the other. At the end of the day, I really thought the their ability to get to the basket - whether through deep penetration or a pass into the post - led to fouls, which basically decided the basketball game."
After a back-and-forth battle of much of the first half, the second stanza featured a series of runs. South Carolina pushed a four-point lead at the intermission to its biggest edge of the game at 40-32 with 15:49 left.
A pair of three-point plays by Hassell helped Georgia knot the score at 40-40 just 2:34 later.
The Gamecocks responded with a 7-0 run, but the Lady Bulldogs again answered with a 9-2 surge that made it 49-49 at the 6:34 mark. James scored five points in that run.
South Carolina then used a decisive 6-0 run to create distance.
Georgia pulled within two points and had possession with less than 30 seconds remaining but turned the ball over. Ieasia Walker then hit both ends of a one-and-one with 13 seconds left to supply the game's final score.
Georgia's largest lead of the game was 8-4 at the 14:17 mark. South Carolina knotted the score 2:17 later and the teams traded buckets for several minutes. The Gamecocks used a 9-2 run to build the first significant lead, a 24-17 advantage with 2:51 on the clock.
A Khaalidah Miller three in transition was sandwiched by consecutive buckets by Jasmine Hassell as the Lady Bulldogs tied the score just 70 seconds later. South Carolina then closed out the period on a 6-2 surge to garner a four-point lead at the intermission.
The Lady Bulldogs will now return to Athens to await an anticipated at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA bracket will be released on Monday, March 12. To date, Georgia has competed in 28 of 30 editions of "March Madness" since the NCAA took over administration of women's intercollegiate athletics in 1981. The Lady Bulldogs' tally of NCAA bids ranks second nationally. Georgia has advanced to 19 "Sweet 16s," 10 "Elite Eights" and five Final Fours and finished as NCAA runner-up in both 1985 and 1996.