8:00 PM ET, February 23, 2006
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Georgia coach Andy Landers was visibly upset with his team's performance in the first half against Arkansas.The Lady Bulldogs (No. 121 ESPN/USA Today; No. 13 AP) turned the ball over 12 times, missed all five of their 3-point attempts and made just 11-of-33 from the field.Fortunately for Georgia, Arkansas didn't play a whole lot better.The Lady Bulldogs (19-7, 9-4 Southeastern Conference) were a different team in the second half and posted a hard-fought 86-80 victory over Arkansas.Arkansas (13-13, 5-8) lost its seventh straight game after starting conference play 5-1. But the Lady Razorbacks lured another nationally ranked team into a road trap and nearly pulled off the upset, as they did against Vanderbilt and Florida earlier in the season.The Lady Razorbacks, who missed their first nine 3-point attempts, went on a scoring streak to start the second half."We're just not very good defensively," Landers said. "I wish we played defense like Arkansas plays defense."Instead, Georgia went into a scoring mode behind Sherill Baker, Tasha Humphrey and Janese Hardrick and took control of the game with about five minutes left. It was Baker's defense that sparked a 11-0 run that turned a 68-67 lead into a double-figure margin and sealed the game.Baker took the game over during that stretch, getting a pair of steals and converting a three-point play. She later added a pair of free throws and fed Hardrick for a lay-up.Hardrick finished with 20 points off the bench for Georgia.The game was no consolation prize for Arkansas coach Susie Gardner, who fell to 2-2 against her alma mater with the loss."It's disappointing, but we've got to keep our heads up," Gardner said. "We played hard and I'm proud of that, but this has been a tough last month of the season."One thing that likely encouraged Gardner heading into the regular season finale was the play of Whitney Jones. Jones, who has battled a stress fracture in her left leg, scored a conference-high 21 points before leaving the game with leg cramps."I thought Whitney played very well, especially considering who she was playing against," Gardner said.Humphrey is one of the top post players in the SEC. She dominated the second half, finishing with 25 points. Baker, whose 16 points in the first half kept Georgia in the game early, finished with a game-high 28.Rochelle Vaughn added 18 points for Arkansas and Leslie Howard added 17. Howard's three straight 3-pointers to start the second half helped Arkansas take a 10-point lead early in the second half.The loss likely means Arkansas will be an eight or nine seed in next week's SEC Tournament at ALLTEL Arena in North Little Rock, in which Georgia has secured a first round bye. The tournament starts March 2.