Lady Bulldogs Fall in Elite Eight to Cal

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April 1, 2013

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SPOKANE, Wash. --- The Georgia women's basketball team led by double digits in the second half but suffered a tough 65-62 overtime loss to the No. 2 seed California in Elite Eight action Monday night at the Spokane Arena, ending their 2013 season at 28-7.

Freshman Shacobia Barbee led the Bulldogs with a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double effort, while senior Jasmine James had 11 points, seven rebounds, and five assists before fouling out down the stretch. Anne Marie Armstrong had 12 points - including a put-back with seven seconds left in regulation to force overtime - in her final collegiate contest.

"I think, for the most part, this was a game that played out somewhat the way we thought it would," said head coach Andy Landers. "We felt it was very important to get back in transition, that it was very important to keep the ball out of the lane, and to rebound the ball defensively, and when we were doing those things well, we were in a good position. When we broke down defensively and allowed that penetration and allowed them to rebound the ball on offense, we got in trouble. They're a very good basketball team and have a lot of nice pieces. They made more plays than we did, and they deserve to win the game."

The Lady Bulldogs led Cal 26-21 at the half, using stifling defense while the Golden Bears shot just 24 percent on an 8-for-23 clip over the first 20:00. It was the freshman Barbee who led the way for Georgia in the opening period, with a team-best six points to go along with five rebounds.

The Lady Bulldogs had built a five-point lead at the midway point of the first frame as Cal went nearly seven minutes without a bucket before Talia Caldwell ended the drought with a lay-up that made it 9-4 with 10:40 to play in the first. A short jumper for Afure Jemerigbe followed by a three for Layshia Clarendon tied things up at 9-9 with 8:12 to go, but Georgia strung together a few solid possessions as time wound down on the half, and a three-pointer from freshman Tiaria Griffin with 3:14 left pushed the Lady Dogs in front by six at 23-17.

The Golden Bears trimmed it to 23-21 before a big three from the senior Anne Marie Armstrong from deep in the corner pushed it back to five, 26-21, with 12 seconds remaining in the half and Cal failed to score on its final opportunity before the break.

Coming out of halftime the Lady Bulldogs built an eight-point lead, 32-24, with 18:01 to play on a Barbee jumper, and a nine-point lead at 34-25 on a pull-up jumper in the lane for Armstrong to beat the shot clock with 17:08 remaining. But the Golden Bears would put together an 11-3 run over the next five minutes to pull to within just one, 37-36, with 12 minutes on the clock, capped by a jumper for Clarendon on the wing.

The lead slid back to seven as the Lady Dogs kicked off a run of their own, concluding with a strong move to the basket and the lay-up for senior Jasmine James, and grew to eight when James made good on another lay-up in traffic that made it 47-39 with 7:45 to go.

The Lady Bulldogs took their first double-digit lead at 49-39 on a pair of free throws from Barbee with 6:46 left, but Cal again clawed back and suddenly it was back to a two-point game, 50-48, with just 3:32 to go on what amounted to a 9-1 Golden Bear run over that span. It moved to an 11-1 run and a tie ballgame, 50-50, with a second straight lay-up from Caldwell with 2:53 to play.

After Cal had taken a 52-50 lead on a pair of free throws with 2:19 left, it came down to Armstrong's put-back off a Griffin miss, followed by her own miss, to tie the game at 52-52 with just seven ticks on the clock. More aggressive Lady Dog defense at the other end pinned Cal by the sideline and the Bears couldn't get a good look the basket as the teams were headed to extra time in Spokane.

Khaalidah Miller opened overtime with a triple for Georgia, but Cal answered with nine straight points before Barbee knocked down two from the line with a minute to go that made it a 61-57 deficit for UGA. Armstrong knocked down a three with just four seconds left that made it a 64-62 game, but the Lady Bulldogs couldn't get any closer.

"I'm disappointed," Landers said. "But I am proud of our basketball team. I'm proud of the run that we made."

Awaiting the Bears in New Orleans will be the winner of the No. 2 Tennessee and No. 5 Louisville game which takes place Tuesday night. Louisville knocked off top overall seed Baylor on Sunday. No. 1 UConn punched their ticket to New Orleans with a 83-53 victory over No. 2 Kentucky in the Bridgeport Region. No. 1 Notre Dame faces No. 2 Duke in the other Tuesday night matchup.

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