Originally created 03/31/03

Allergies didn't stop sophomore



ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Ebony Felder was going on instincts.

As if the redshirt sophomore forward hasn't had enough injuries to overcome, she had to battle allergies Saturday against No. 1 Duke in the NCAA tournament Midwest Regional semifinals.

"My allergies were messing me up real bad, so when I was out there I didn't know what I was doing," Felder said. "I felt so nauseated out there, but I knew I had to score."

Felder, who scored 17 points in a second-round win against Rutgers on Monday, scored 10 points in 17 minutes. She may have had the play of the game for the Lady Bulldogs when she split a double team on the left block and wormed her way through for a layup that cut Duke's lead to 66-63 with 42 seconds remaining.

"That's just Ebony," junior center Christi Thomas said. "From the beginning when we walked on campus to the day we walk off, that will always be Ebony Felder. She will fight through anything she goes through."

Felder said her play in the last three games makes her feel good because she has worked so hard to get back on the court after partially tearing the patella tendon in her right knee against Houston on Dec. 20.

She just wishes the Lady Bulldogs season wasn't over.

"You have to realize that that can happen even to the best teams," Felder said. "There are no guarantees, so you have to be prepared for the best and the worst. As long as we know we played hard and gave it our all we can't feel too bad."

GEORGIA'S ZONE: Georgia coach Andy Landers' teams are known for playing in-your-jersey man-to-man defense.

But the Lady Bulldogs showed in the last two games, partly because their lack of depth, that their 2-3 zone defense is pretty good, too.

Georgia limited junior guard/forward Alana Beard, who is a national player of the year candidate, to 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting. Beard tried to work herself free by roaming the baseline and working along the foul line but she couldn't find the seams in the Lady Bulldogs' defense.

"Their zone was really tight," Beard said. "It was a wide zone, but it was really active. You would see a cut but it would close up really quick. I think everywhere I turned there was a double team. They had a great game plan."

Georgia senior guard Mary Beth Lycettsaid stopping Beard was the game plan.

"I thought we did a really good job of slowing her down," Lycett said. "I think we got her frustrated at one point. That was a key for us to stay in the game."

Three-point barrage: Duke lived from beyond the 3-point line in the first half, making just 5 of 17 attempts.

The Blue Devils' lack of aggressiveness helped the Lady Bulldogs hold them to 32.3 percent shooting in the first half.

"We don't usually shoot 17 in the first half, but we were settling for the three early," said Duke coach Gail Goestenkors, whose team opened the game 1-for7 from long range. "Our goal was to wear them down, but we weren't wearing them down by shooting the threes."

Duke finished 9 of 25 from 3-point range, one attempt shy of matching the season-high it set against Tulsa (11 of 26) on Dec. 21.

The Blue Devils came into the game having attempted 20 or more 3-pointers seven times.

Unfortunately for Georgia, Duke hit 4 of 8 from 3-point range in the second half, including back-to-back 3s by Vicki Krapohl and Iciss Tillis that helped the Blue Devils build a 57-50 lead with 5:36 to play.

This and that: Georgia freshman guard Sherill Baker dressed out for the game and sat on the Lady Bulldogs' bench. Baker, who separated her right shoulder Monday in the second half of Georgia's win against Rutgers, wasn't wearing a sling on her right arm. ... Duke's 34 wins is an Atlantic Coast Conference record. ... The Blue Devils' six turnovers were a season-low. ... The win was Duke's 14th straight. They had won their previous 13 by an average of 24.5 points. ... Thomas finished with her ninth double-double of the season. Her 13 points helped her pass Cynthia Collins and move into 18th place on Georgia's all-time scoring list. ... Georgia guard Alexis Kendrick had five assists and fell seven shy of passing Kelly Miller (164, 1997-98) to become the program's single-season leader for assists by a freshman. Kendrick finished the season with 158 assists and 82 turnovers.