No. 14 Georgia 70, Montana 50
Montana was on the cusp of rallying from a double-digit deficit
to take the lead, giving Georgia a real scare.
All it took was one missed opportunity and a few defensive
stands by Georgia to send the Lady Griz to a deficit they could not
”All of a sudden they scored quick,” Montana coach Robin
Selvig said. ”I mean, they made plays when we had a little
momentum going and you have to give them credit. They have a lot of
weapons and play hard.”
Jasmine Hassell scored 16 points, Shacobia Barbee added 13, and
fourth-seeded Georgia used its defense to go on a big run midway
through the second half and pull away for a 70-50 win on Saturday
in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Jasmine James added 11 points for the Lady Bulldogs (26-6), who
will face No. 5 seed Iowa State in the second round on Monday
Torry Hill led 13th-seeded Montana (24-8) with 11 points. But on
a night the Lady Griz needed to hit all their open looks, they shot
just 29 percent and committed 20 turnovers.
”They just made some plays, some big plays and basketball is a
game of runs,” Montana’s Katie Baker said. ”They got a big
momentum swing their way, a couple of fast breaks, they hit a
couple big shots, couple of big 3s and just like that they are
Georgia led 38-36 with 15 minutes remaining before going on a
21-6 run to grab control and earn a bit of redemption after being
upset by Marist in the first round a year ago.
”I was really pleased with the way our basketball team defended
from the beginning of the game to the end of the game and the
desired effect of that defense probably set in somewhere around the
13-minute mark there in the second half,” Georgia coach Andy
Landers said. ”I feel like we started to benefit from the playing
it the way we played it.”
The matchup featured two of the most successful coaches in
women’s college basketball. Selvig and Landers had combined for
1,618 wins at their respective schools coming into Saturday’s game
and Selvig was looking for an upset that would move him within one
victory of joining Landers in the 800-win club.
That upset bid was tossed aside by Georgia’s impressive
second-half charge, mostly thanks to the Lady Bulldogs’ defense.
Georgia allowed just 53.3 points per game during the regular
season, among the best in the country.
The stout defense was on display as the Lady Bulldogs took
command, holding Montana to just two field goals in a 12-minute
span. Montana’s drought was finally broken when Hannah Doran hit a
3-pointer with 2:35 left.
Montana became the 15th team to score 50 points or less against
the Lady Bulldogs this season.
”They’re just bigger, stronger and faster and we’re not used to
playing those type of girls,” Hill said.
Before Georgia ran away, the Lady Griz had a chance to take the
lead early in the second half.
Alyssa Smith hit a 3 as Montana closed to 32-28, the closest it
had been since it was 8-4. After Hassell split a pair of free
throws, Baker hit a 17-footer and the Lady Griz were within three.
Baker then split a pair of free throws and Georgia’s lead was just
Tiaria Griffin answered with a corner 3-pointer and Barbee
scored on a drive to push the lead back to seven, but Baker scored
and Jordan Sullivan hit a 3. Montana committed a turnover with a
chance to pull even or take the lead.
That proved to be as close as the Lady Griz would get. Following
a timeout, Georgia ran off 13 of the next 17 points to take a 51-40
lead with 9:10 remaining. Anne Marie Armstrong hit a corner
3-pointer, Erika Ford scored off a steal and Tamika Willis scored
in the lane to extend the lead to eight. James then hit a pair of
short jumpers and Willis scored underneath to run the advantage to
”We didn’t convert as well as they did, we didn’t score off the
steals, we didn’t score off of their turnovers and that was a huge
thing for us,” Smith said. ”It’s hard to come back against a team
like that, especially when we do dig ourselves a hole. We have to
be able to convert, which we weren’t able to do tonight.”