Georgia women rally, advance to Elite Eight

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SPOKANE, Wash. — Andy Landers looked down at the stat sheet on the table in front of him. The numbers were almost exactly what the longtime Georgia coach anticipated.

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Georgia's Shacobia Barbee tries to put up a shot as Stanford's Joslyn Tinkle gets a hand on the ball. The Lady Bulldogs will play in their first Elite Eight since 2004.  JED CONKLIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
JED CONKLIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Georgia's Shacobia Barbee tries to put up a shot as Stanford's Joslyn Tinkle gets a hand on the ball. The Lady Bulldogs will play in their first Elite Eight since 2004.

Yes, even the final score: Georgia 61, Stanford 59.

Jasmine Hassell scored six of her 13 points in the final 3 minutes and fourth-seeded Georgia beat top-seeded Stanford 61-59 on Saturday night to reach the NCAA women's regional finals for the first time since 2004.

Georgia overcame three major scoring droughts, including falling behind 9-0, to oust the No. 1 seed from the Spokane Regional and end Stanford's hopes of reaching the Final Four for the sixth consecutive year.

Jasmine James led Georgia (28-6) with 16 points, including a pair of free throws with 23.5 seconds left that gave the Lady Bulldogs a 60-56 lead. It's the 11th trip to the regional finals in Landers long tenure at Georgia.

"As we came down the stretch, our players, I think figured out that they could make some plays and really did a nice job," Landers said. "I think the thing that's so good about the comeback and going ahead is that each one of those five players did something that was really significant as we did that. And they did something really significant on each end of the floor."

Chiney Ogwumike led Stanford (33-3) with 26 points, but was held to eight points in the second half. She also had 12 rebounds.

Tiaria Griffin scored 13 points, and Shacobia Barbee added nine as the Lady Bulldogs turned in another superb defensive effort to stymie Stanford and ruin any hopes of a Pac-12 showdown with No. 2 seed California in the regional final.

Georgia will play for a trip to the Final Four on Monday night against either the Golden Bears or No. 6 seed LSU. Georgia has not made the Final Four since 1999. Georgia reached the round of 16 in 2005-07 and 2010-11, only to get ousted at that stage each time, including a 73-36 loss to Stanford in 2010.

Saturday night wasn't so much about getting even with the Cardinal, as it was about getting Georgia back to where it believes they belong.

"To finally make the next step and go to the Elite 8 and now to be going into another game to try to compete to go to the Final Four is definitely back to where Georgia basketball needs to be, trying to compete for a national championship," James said.

Whether it was the scoring droughts or the trouble slowing down Ogwumike in the first half, there was plenty of evidence that made Georgia's late rally hard to fathom. Georgia overcame a 5-minute scoreless drought to start the game, another 5 minutes with just two free throws late in the first half and another 7-minute lapse in the second half with just one basket that allowed Stanford to build a 42-34 lead with 11:50 remaining.

Still, the Lady Bulldogs were hanging around because Stanford made just 3 of 20 shots to start the second half. After Ogwumike scored 18 in the first half, Georgia made an adjustment to force more help on the Stanford star. It worked because Ogwumike's supporting cast struggled.

Amber Orrange added 17 points for Stanford, but was only 7 of 24 from the field. The Cardinal shot 29 percent in the second half and struggled to find open looks for Ogwumike. Second-leading scorer Joslyn Tinkle struggled with foul trouble in the first half and went more than 35 minutes of game time without scoring. She finished with five points.

"I think the reason that I'm not going ballistic right now is like we're 33-3," Ogwumike said. "That was a huge achievement for our program."

BRIDGEPORT REGIONAL

CONNECTICUT 76, MARYLAND 50

In Bridgeport, Conn., Breanna Stewart and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis each scored 17 points, leading top-seeded Connecticut over Maryland.

Stewart got help from fellow freshmen Moriah Jefferson, 10 points, and Morgan Tuck, eight points, in sending the top-seeded Huskies (32-4) to their eighth consecutive NCAA regional final.

Alyssa Thomas, who had averaged 28.5 points in the tournament, had 13 to lead Maryland, which finished its season at 26-8. Tianna Hawkins and Chloe Pavlech each scored 11 points for
the Terps.

The Huskies will play Kentucky in on Monday night in a rematch of last year’s regional final.

Connecticut will be playing in a regional final for the 19th time.

KENTUCKY 69, DELAWARE 62

Jennifer O’Neill scored 19 points and A’dia Mathies added 16 to help Kentucky hold off Delaware in the Bridgeport regional semifinals, bringing to an end the stellar career of Elena Delle Donne.

It’s the second consecutive season that Kentucky (30-5) has advanced to the regional final. The Wildcats, who already have a school record for victories, lost to Connecticut last season by 15 points.

Kentucky withstood a Delaware rally led by Delle Donne, who had 33 points for Delaware (32-4).


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