Georgia rallies late for 71-64 victory over Georgia Tech

Associated Press
Georgia's Tasha Humphrey (34) grabs the ball before it went out of bounds while holding off Georgia Tech's Deja Foster (23) during the first half of college women's basketball game action on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007, in Athens, Ga.

ATHENS, Ga. - There were contrasting views of what constitutes a rivalry after No. 7 Georgia beat Georgia Tech 71-64 Sunday to improve to 28-2 in the series.


Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said Tech-Georgia is now a rivalry "whether they want to admit it or not."

Georgia's Andy Landers said "It's a fun game for us because we're in the driver's seat," but he added it doesn't rank with Tennessee, LSU or Vanderbilt on the Lady Bulldogs' list of rivals.

"It is what it is," said Landers, who likes to offer reminders of his team's dominance of the series.

"I might like to get in the ear of Georgia Tech people," he said with a smile.

Landers acknowledged Georgia Tech's players "have become a little more competitive with the idea they can pull this thing off. But it's not like Tennessee, who time after time we play with both teams ranked in the top 10."

Georgia Tech isn't ranked, but it led 33-25 at halftime and 49-42 midway through the second half. Tech finished with a 26-8 advantage in points off turnovers.

Georgia, which matched its season high with 23 turnovers, finally solved the Yellow Jackets' trapping defense and took control late when Ashley Houts was 8-for-8 on free throws in the final 1:31.

Tasha Humphrey had 21 points and 12 rebounds for her fifth straight double-double to lead the Lady Bulldogs (8-0). Houts added 16 points while playing 40 minutes as the primary target of Tech's attacking defense.

Iasia Hemingway scored 22 points for Tech (5-1).

Chioma Nnamaka, who scored 18 points, hit a 3-pointer for Georgia Tech with 1:50 left for a 59-59 tie. Two free throws by Houts with 1:31 left gave Georgia a 61-59 lead. Houts added six free throws in the final minute.

"I was confident in having the ball in my hand that they were going to foul me and I was going to knock them down," Houts said.

Overall, Houts made 11 free throws but was only 2-for-7 from the field with seven turnovers.

"I really thought we bothered Houts," Joseph said. "... I was proud of our defensive effort."

Tech's Alex Montgomery, who had 13 points, made a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left to cut Georgia's lead to 67-64. Montgomery then fouled Houts, who added two more free throws.

Freshmen Montgomery and Hemingway accounted for all of Georgia Tech's scoring during a 15-5 run that gave the Yellow Jackets a 33-25 lead at halftime.

Hemingway totaled 15 points in her first five games before scoring 17 in the first half.

Hemingway, from Newark, N.J., said she was determined to help end Georgia's control of the rivalry.

"They always said Georgia Tech and Georgia had a thing and I said we're not going to take it," Hemingway said.

Georgia Tech forced 11 turnovers in the half and had a 16-4 advantage in points off turnovers.

"We have respect for the program they have, but that's it," Joseph said. "It's respect and not fear."

Joseph said the rivalry "definitely" has changed.

"I think now, whether they want to admit it or not, it is a battle and whether they want to admit it or not it is a rivalry and whether they want to admit it or not we had them on the ropes today," Joseph said.

Landers said his team's offense must improve, but he said he was impressed with how his team responded to the challenge.

"We've got a little moxie about us," he said. "We've got staying power. A year ago we might have faded in the second half."

Notes: Humphrey, a senior, has averaged 16.6 points and 13.0 rebounds in her five straight double-doubles. She has 40 double-doubles in 101 career games.... Georgia is 11-0 against Tech in Athens.... Each team was undefeated for the game for only the second time. On Nov. 29, 1988, each team was 2-0 when Georgia won 73-58 in Atlanta.... Tech fell to 5-48 against teams from the Southeastern Conference.



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