ATHENS, Ga. - Alabama is at the top of the Southeastern Conference, which is hardly an inconsequential place to be.
Remember, this is the same league that last season had both teams in the women's championship game and four of the final eight in the NCAA tournament. The team which leads the SEC standings automatically becomes one of the favorites for the national title.
That's the role the fifth-ranked Crimson Tide assumed Wednesday night with a 68-64 victory over No. 4 Georgia.
"I think the whole team, the whole state of Alabama, is proud of our team and the way we came out with a victory," Shalonda Enis said. "Everyone knows that Georgia is a really great team and it's really hard to come in to their home ground and beat them. We're so proud of ourselves for hanging in there and coming out with a victory."
At the end of the game, the Alabama players charged on the court, jumping around and hugging each other in celebration, obviously realizing this was a landmark night.
Not only did Alabama set a school record with its 12th straight victory, the Tide is 4-0 in league play for the first time and ended Georgia's 22-game home winning streak in the process.
"Right now," Alabama coach Rick Moody said, "this is our greatest win ever."
Dominique Canty led a strong inside game with 18 points as Alabama (14-2) handed Georgia its first defeat at Stegeman Coliseum since Feb. 8, 1995, when Florida beat the Lady Bulldogs 59-46.
"The things that happened out there tonight were mental," said coach Andy Landers of Georgia (11-3 overall, 2-1 SEC). "For the first time in two years, we weren't focused like we usually are."
The Crimson Tide went ahead for good when Leah Monteith hit two free throws to make it 58-57 with 4:07 remaining. Alabama sealed the victory when Monteith, Brittney Ezell and Yolanda Watkins made six straight on 1-and-1 trips to the foul line.
As usual, the Crimson Tide got most of its scoring from the front line. Enis had 16 points and 12 rebounds and backup center Tausha Mills 13 points and seven rebounds.
"Their big guns, Enis and Canty, got their points," Landers said. "Our guards turned the ball over more than they scored."
Georgia's backcourt star, Kedra Holland-Corn, had her worst game of the season. Averaging 22 points per game against ranked teams and a team-high 18.2 overall, she was 1-of-11 from the field - all but one of her attempts coming from beyond the 3-point stripe.
Three times in the final two minutes, Holland-Corn had a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer but missed each one. She finished with 5 points and seven turnovers.
"I had a pretty off night and I'm very disappointed in myself and the way I played," she said.
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