Originally created 12/13/04

Lady Dogs beat Arizona



ATHENS, Ga. - For once, Georgia's wide-body freshman Tasha Humphrey found herself out-sized, by Arizona center Shawntinice Polk.

But Humphrey adjusted, and Polk watched much of the game after fouling out. End result: Humphrey scored 19 of her 21 points in the second half to lead 11th-ranked Georgia to 70-62 win over No. 24 Arizona.

Nine seconds into the game, Polk was at the line after drawing a foul from Humphrey.

"I thought, 'Here we go'," said Humphrey. "I was under-sized and they were double-teaming me."

But it was Polk who fouled out, with 11:41 to play, exiting with 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 22 effective minutes.

"I thought Tasha did a great job of adjusting," said Georgia (7-3) coach Andy Landers. "She kept playing hard. In the early part of the game, that double team was fantastic. But in the second half, they had some subs in there and it was not nearly as good."

"Polkey can do better than this," said Arizona (6-2) coach Joan Bonvicini. "We need her to be consistent and be a big-time player."

"They may be the best team we have played this year," said Landers. Georgia defeated No. 4 Texas earlier this year. "Arizona is really talented at each position. They have a big post presence that Texas doesn't have, and their four player is as quick as a cat. I think Arizona is a special basketball team, and that this is a special win for us."

It was the 699th win of Landers' coaching career, counting 82 wins at Roane State Community College in the late '70s.

Dee-Dee Wheeler led Arizona with 16 points, including 12 in the final nine minutes. Georgia guard Sherill Baker corraled Wheeler as the Lady Dogs built a 49-31 lead with 10:20 to play.

"Sherill played well and performed well tonight," Landers said. "She did what she needed to do."

"Tasha is a great player," said Bonvicini, "and Georgia's guards are really good."

Georgia missed all 11 attempts from beyond the 3-point line, ending a streak of 122 games with at least one 3-point goal. Georgia last failed to score a 3-pointer against Florida Jan. 11, 2001.

Humphrey hit six of eight field goals and nine of 12 free throws.

Both teams endured long stretches of offensive futility in the first half. Polk got the Wildcats off to a strong start, scoring six of the team's first 15 points and assisting on two more field goals as Arizona took a 15-10 lead six minutes into the game.

But Georgia went on a 13-0 run over the next eight minutes to take the lead for good. But after Janese Hardrick's shake-and-bake layup with 7:22 to play put Georgia ahead 23-15, the Lady Dogs entered a six-minute scoring drought of their own. Che Oh's back-door layup with 3:41 to play in the half closed the margin to three, 23-20.

Georgia's Alexis Kendrick ended Georgia's offensive struggles with two baskets in the last 82 seconds of the first half. Polk's put-back near the end of the half accounted for the 27-22 halftime spread that favored Georgia.

Arizona's Jessica Arnold hit a 3-pointer for the first points of the second half, but the Wildcats managed just two field goals over the next 11 minutes. Polk fouled out during that period as Georgia out-scored Arizona 22-6. Hardrick's layup gave Georgia a 49-31 lead with 10:20 remaining.

Three 3-pointers by Wheeler and Katrina Linder closed the gap to 10 points with 5:50 to play. But Humphrey scored eight of Georgia's next nine points, giving the Lady Dogs a 66-54 lead with 1:38 to play.

The Wildcats clawed back. Wheeler's steal and three-point play with 48.6 seconds to play narrowed the Georgia lead to 66-59. Georgia threw the ball out of bounds against the press, but the Lady Dogs' Baker stole the ball from Ashley Whisonant to end any legitimate comeback hopes.