3:00 PM ET, January 22, 2006
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Seimone Augustus doesn't want to sound greedy. Still, she would prefer to have the ball in her hands with the game on the line.Augustus scored 24 points, including the winning shot with 13 seconds remaining, and LSU (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today, No. 4 AP) overcame a 31-point effort by Georgia's Tasha Humphrey to beat the Lady Bulldogs (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) 65-64 on Sunday.The teams swapped the lead five times in the final 1:21. After Humphrey worked into the lane to sink a shot that put Georgia ahead 64-63, LSU went with the obvious choice for its final possession.Getting free on the right side, Augustus swished a 10-footer over Sherill Baker and Megan Darrah."If someone has to take them -- especially at crunch time -- then I'd rather take the shot," Augustus said. "I'm not saying that my teammates can't make the shots, but I'd like them to come to me every time."Scholanda Hoston set the backscreen that gave Augustus just enough room to make the winning shot for the Lady Tigers (16-1, 5-0 Southeastern Conference)."I guess their defense got hung up in the screens," Augustus said. "But I really wasn't that open. Sherill and No. 24 (Darrah), they were right there."After watching LSU execute its offense to perfection, Georgia (13-5, 3-2) messed up a couple of chances to win it. Most troubling, the Lady Bulldogs never even got the ball back to Humphrey.Senior Alexis Kendrick appeared to lose track of the time and threw up a wild 3-pointer with about 6 seconds left that didn't come close. Sylvia Fowles rebounded for LSU and was immediately fouled. After back-to-back timeouts, she missed the first free throw in a one-and-one, giving the Lady Bulldogs another opportunity.Coach Andy Landers told his players that their best chance was drawing a foul, but Janese Hardrick veered around the defenders and threw up a 50-footer on the run. It barely grazed the rim as the horn sounded."The kids did what we wanted them to do all day," Landers said. "When you do that good a job and mess up at the end, it hurts. It's not that our kids didn't play well. They just didn't finish."Humphrey had a huge game. She made 12-of-20 shots, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, and also led the Bulldogs with 11 rebounds.It wasn't enough."Tasha is a great player," said Fowles, who spent much of the game trying to guard Humphrey. "She can step in or step out. She knows how to get her team rolling."Pounding the ball inside, LSU built a double-digit lead in the first half. But after Hoston scored off a lay-in to put the Lady Tigers up 25-14, Georgia closed the period with a 16-6 run to trail 31-30 at halftime.The Lady Bulldogs took their first lead of the game on Humphrey's 3-pointer to start the second half. Then, it was time for a couple of spurts. LSU strung together 10 straight points, but Georgia responded by scoring 14 of the next 19 to regain the lead, 47-46.Baker hit a floating jumper in the lane to put Georgia up 60-55 with 4:34 remaining, equaling its biggest lead of the game. Then it was time for the Lady Tigers to come back.Six straight points, the last two on a pair of free throws by Augustus, pushed LSU back ahead and set up the wild finish.LSU shot 53 percent from the field, making all but five of its 28 baskets from inside of 10 feet. The Lady Tigers attempted only two 3-pointers -- missing them both.Georgia, on the other hand, was 8-of-25 from beyond the arc and shot 38 percent overall.Augustus missed only two of 12 shots from the field while playing the entire game. The Lady Bulldogs, who didn't have anyone to match up individually with the 6-foot-6 Fowles, double-teamed the sophomore just about every time she touched the ball.Fowles got off just five shots and was held to 11 points, though she did help control the boards with 15 rebounds. By focusing on Fowles, the Lady Bulldogs gave Augustus plenty of open looks.She made them pay at the end."I knew we weren't good enough to take them both out of the game," Landers said. "We were fortunate to take one of them out of the game."
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