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No. 9 Georgia overcomes late rally to hold off Rutgers

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- With Rutgers' pressure proving effective,
Georgia coach Andy Landers turned to his top senior and an
impressive freshman.

It was a routine move, but another successful one in a career
that will land him in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Freshman Ashley Houts and Janese Hardrick each scored 18 points
and were key in beating Rutgers' press as No. 9 Georgia overcame a
late rally for a 78-69 win Sunday.

The Scarlet Knights (0-1) rallied from a 10-point deficit by
using full-court pressure to spark a 15-2 run, capped by Epiphanny
Prince's three-point play off a steal and fast-break layup, that
put them ahead 65-62 with 3:40 left.

"I think our kids understood it, but they still, with their
quickness and ability, made some plays and they got themselves back
into the game," Landers said.

Earlier Sunday, Landers was named an inductee into the Women's
Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Lady Bulldogs (1-0) forced turnovers on Rutgers' next four
possessions and scored 10 consecutive points from the free throw
line, including six by Hardrick, to regain control.

"When we came back with her and Ashley, I thought that solved
the problem of the press," Landers said.

After Landers was honored at halftime, Georgia opened the second
half on a 10-0 run as Rutgers (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) missed its first eight shots. Christy
Marshall capped the run with a driving layup to give Georgia its
largest lead to that point at 51-42.

The lead reached 60-50 on a baseline jumper by Rebecca Rowsey,
who missed last season with a knee injury, but Rutgers responded by
increasing its defensive pressure.

Kia Vaughn had three baskets in the comeback rally, and Prince
finished it off with back-to-back layups. Georgia figured out the
pressure after that, and was able to get to the free throw line and
cash in.

Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said it was a matter of youth.

"I think that what's most difficult for us is that we've got
freshmen in all positions. … In a couple of years, it'll be fine
but right now it's the worst nightmare," Stringer said.

Forward Essence Carson said the Scarlet Knights spent a lot of
energy during the comeback, but still should have been able to
fight through the turnovers -- even with no seniors on the roster.

"We just have to get them to understand to push through
everything," Carson said.

Hardrick was 10-for-10 from the foul line to lead Georgia's
22-for-24 effort. Cori Chambers added 11 points and Angel Robinson
scored 10 for Georgia, which was without third-team All-American
Tasha Humphrey.

Humphrey, the team's leading scorer last season, was suspended
for the season's first six games after being charged with underage
possession of alcohol. That left the Lady Bulldogs with only seven
active players.

Houts, a freshman guard, was playing in her first college game.

"I don't know what to say about her other than what you saw is
the way she is. That's the way she's going to be," Landers said.
"She's going to get better, but she's going to be that way every
time you see her for the next four years."

A McDonald's All-American in high school, Houts impressed
Landers from the first day of practice.

"She comes with batteries and she comes with a guarantee,"
Landers said. "She's fully charged."

Rutgers also played without one of its stars. Preseason all-Big
East selection Matee Ajavon, the league's freshman of the year last
season, is out until December after offseason surgery to fix a
stress fracture in her left leg.

In their first game since Cappie Pondexter was taken No. 2 in
the WNBA draft, the Scarlet Knights were led by Essence Carson and
Vaughn, who each scored 16. Vaughn also had 10 rebounds for her
fourth career double-double.

Prince finished with 14 points and Judith Brittany Ray scored
10.