TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Sherill Baker scored 26 points and Tasha
Humphrey had 24, helping Georgia blow the game open in the second
half to defeat Hartford 73-54 Tuesday night in the second round of
the Bridgeport regional.
Humphrey had 17 rebounds for No. 3 seed Georgia (23-8), which
reached the round of 16 for the 16th time in 23 NCAA appearances.
The Bulldogs will face either second-seeded Connecticut or No. 7
seed Virginia Tech, who played later Tuesday.
The inside-outside combination of the 6-foot-3 Humphrey and the
5-8 Baker was too much for No. 11 seed Hartford (27-4), which had
upset No. 6 seed Temple Sunday for the first NCAA tournament win in
school history. Erica Beverly led the Hawks with 13 points.
Baker and Humphrey combined to shoot 67 percent (22-for-33), but
it was the Bulldogs defense that orchestrated the 15-0 run that
left Hartford trailing 57-42 with 12 minutes remaining.
It didn't help that Hawks guard Erika Messam left the game
holding her left leg after landing awkwardly after a jump shot. By
the time Messam re-entered with a wrap on her lower leg, the
Bulldogs had already done their damage.
Humphrey scored consecutive baskets to start the half and give
Georgia a 40-33 lead, but Hartford came back to tie the game at 42
on a jumper by Beverly. It was five minutes before the Hawks scored
again as Baker and backcourt mate Janese Hardrick (12 points on
5-for-6 shooting) took over.
Baker laid in an alley-oop pass, then made a steal that led to a
three-point play by Hardrick. Hardrick followed with another steal
and layup and the lead was seven. The two guards combined for 13 of
the 15 points, and Hartford never got closer than 11 points.
In a back-and-forth first half that featured accurate shooting
by both teams -- they combined to make exactly 50 percent (31-of-62)
of their shots -- Humphrey and Baker helped give the Bulldogs a
three-point lead at the break.
The two scored nine of Georgia's final 11 points to give the
Bulldogs a 36-29 lead, their biggest advantage, before Hood scored
twice in the lane in the final minute to shrink the deficit to
Hood, who scored 20 points in Hartford's first-round upset of
Temple, had just six at halftime, but her scoring load was taken up
by Beverly, who scored eight straight points for the Hawks in one
stretch and finished the half with 12.
Baker finished the half with 12 points on an assortment of
drives and silky jumpers. Humphrey matched her with 12 points and
also demonstrated a soft touch from the outside to go along with
her bruising inside game.