James scored on a putback with 2.9 seconds left, then made the subsequent free throw to lift the Lady Bulldogs (22-10) to a 61-59 victory over the Seminoles on Tuesday night and into the round of 16 in the women's NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year.
The 5-foot-9 James caught the ball in midair after a missed jumper by Porsha Phillips, tossed it in and drew a foul.
"At that point, everything was on the line," she said. "I wasn't really thinking about how much space there was down there. I was just trying to get down there, find the ball and put it back in. It came off on my side, and I was able to get it."
Defender Cierra Bravard appeared to stop and look at a referee just before Phillips' shot, and she and teammate Alexa Deluzio both said they thought they heard a whistle. So did coach Sue Semrau, who gave the officials an earful after the play.
"I heard a whistle. I looked away as well," Semrau said. "They said they thought it was a squeaking shoe. I didn't know if it was correctable or not. It is unfortunate, but I think things would have been different because the rebound was had after that."
A statement from the officiating crew said "there was no inadvertent whistle" and the only thing reviewed during a stoppage of play was time left on the clock. They added 0.8 seconds.
"I thought I heard a whistle, but the last play didn't lose us the game," Deluzio said. "I feel like it happened in the second half when we let up a little bit."
The final chance came after Georgia's Meredith Mitchell forced a jump ball following another miss. Florida State (24-8) didn't get another shot off as Christian Hunnicutt's pass to Courtney Ward at midcourt went out of bounds as time expired.
The Seminoles didn't have a field goal over the final 10 minutes after taking a 10-point lead. Then Georgia started to regroup.
"Coach kind of in a timeout said a few things to get us back fired up," Anne Marie Armstrong said. "I don't want to say we were giving in, but it looked like we were dead for a little bit there. After that timeout, we picked it up, fought, made some plays on defense."
Georgia, which had lost four of its last five games coming in, plays Texas A&M on Sunday night in the regional semifinals in Dallas. It's the 19th time the Lady Bulldogs have made it this far but it's not quite enough yet for longtime coach Andy Landers.
"What really excites me is Final Fours, if you want to know the truth, and the rest of this stuff is part of the process," he said. "If you've ever been to a Final Four, that's what lights your fire."
Armstrong scored 15 points and James had 14 for the Lady Bulldogs.
Khaalidah Miller scored 11 points and Mitchell had 10. Miller and Armstrong both hit three 3-pointers, but James supplied the biggest play.
"She's a gutty kid, she's a confident kid," Landers said. "She'll put it out there. She's fearless."
Bravard led the Seminoles with 19 points and 10 rebounds for a team that made the regional finals last season. Courtney Ward scored 12 points, all on second-half 3-pointers, and tied her own team postseason record with nine assists.
Florida State took a 59-58 lead when Deluzio hit the second of two free throws with 35 seconds left. Landers had called timeout after her first attempt rimmed out.
Then, Phillips missed a jumper and Bravard grabbed the rebound but Mitchell forced the jump ball, allowing the Lady Bulldogs another shot - or two.
CONNECTICUT 64, PURDUE 40
In Storrs, Conn., Tiffany Hayes scored 23 points, Maya Moore added 16 and No. 1 Connecticut put on a defensive clinic to beat ninth-seeded Purdue in the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament.
The Huskies (33-1) advanced to the regional semifinals for the 18th consecutive season, the longest active streak in the nation. The victory was UConn's 22nd in a row overall and 83rd in a row at home.
Moore and fellow senior Lorin Dixon were playing their final game at Gampel Pavilion. The pair became the first UConn seniors to finish unbeaten at home, going 40-0 at their on-campus arena. The duo also went undefeated on their other home court, the XL Center in Hartford.
The two improved to 148-3 overall in their careers.
Drey Mingo scored nine points to lead Purdue (21-12).
BAYLOR 82, WEST VIRGINIA 68
In Waco, Texas, Brittney Griner had 30 points even after sitting on the bench the final 9 minutes of the first half, and top-seeded Baylor beat West Virginia to advance to the women's NCAA Tournament's round of 16 for the sixth time in eight years.
Baylor (33-2) already had a 14-point lead and Griner had 10 points when she picked up her second foul, but West Virginia managed to only trim that deficit to 11 by halftime.
Liz Repella had 29 points for West Virginia (24-10).
LOUISVILLE 85, XAVIER 75
In Cincinnati, freshman point guard Shoni Schimmel scored a career-high 33 points and led a late comeback that swept Louisville to victory over second-seeded Xavier on the Musketeers' home court in the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament.
Xavier (29-3) had no answer for Schimmel, who rallied the Cardinals (22-12) from a seven-point deficit with 5:58 to go. It was a stunning loss for Xavier, which made it to the Elite Eight last season and had won 19 in a row with its dominating frontcourt duo of Amber Harris and Ta'Shia Phillips.
The Musketeers had won 25 in a row at home, including a 12-point victory over Louisville in November.
GEORGETOWN 79, MARYLAND 57
In College Park, Md., Sugar Rodgers had career-high 34 points, and No. 5 seed Georgetown breezed past fourth-seed Maryland to advance to the round of 16 in the women's NCAA Tournament for the first time.
The Hoyas (24-10) bolted to an 11-0 lead, made it 40-26 at halftime and increased the margin to 23 points with 16:23 left.
Making its third appearance in the NCAA tournament, Georgetown dominated both sides of the court in this matchup of rival schools located only 15 miles apart. Rodgers, a sophomore guard, led the way with a 21-point first half.
Alyssa Thomas had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Maryland (24-8).
OKLAHOMA 88, MIAMI 83
In Charlottesville, Va., Danielle Robinson scored six consecutive points after Miami pulled even for the first time since early in the game, and sixth-seeded Oklahoma beat the third-seeded Hurricanes in the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament.
Whitney Hand scored a career-high 27 points to lead the Sooners (23-11).
Shenise Johnson scored 25 points to lead Miami (28-5), including the jumper with 3:26 to go that tied it 79-all. The Hurricanes didn't score again until Sylvia Bullock's basket inside with 47 seconds to play. That made it 85-81, but Hand hit two free throws with 41 seconds to go, restoring the six-point lead, and the Hurricanes' comeback came up short.
Robinson had 18 points and 11 assists for Oklahoma.
TEXAS A&M 70, RUTGERS 48
In Bossier City, La., Danielle Adams had 28 points and 11 rebounds, and Texas A&M stormed into the third round of the women's NCAA Tournament with a victory over Rutgers.
Syndey Carter added 14 points and Tyra White had 11 for the second-seeded Aggies (29-5), who were upset in last year's second round but this time have strung together victory margins of 20-plus points in each of their first two tournament games.
April Sykes scored 21 for seventh-seeded Rutgers (20-13) which stayed close for the first 15 minutes of the game before the Aggies began to take command.
WISCONSIN-GREEN BAY 65, MICHIGAN STATE 56
In Wichita, Kan., Adrian Ritchie scored 20 points off the bench, Julie Wojta added 18 and Wisconsin-Green Bay advanced to the women's NCAA Tournament's regional semifinals for the first time with a victory over Michigan State.
Horizon League champion Green Bay (34-1) extended its winning streak to 25 games overall and its record against Big Ten Conference teams to 4-0 this season.
Poor shooting plagued fourth-seeded Michigan State, which shot 37.3 percent from the field and committed 25 turnovers. Kalisha Keane led the Spartans (27-6) with 20 points but also had seven turnovers.