8:00 PM ET, November 23, 2007
FREEPORT, Bahamas (AP) -- Cynthia Cooper-Dyke sat on the Prairie View A&M bench, arms folded in her lap, helplessly watching Georgia pull away.As a coach, she's turned the Panthers' fortunes around.But the team sure could have used her playing services in this one.Tasha Humphrey scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and Georgia (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) remained unbeaten by downing Prairie View A&M 78-44 Friday night in the opening round of the Junkanoo Jam."I thought we were quite tentative with good reason -- Georgia is a powerhouse," said Cooper-Dyke, the well-decorated former Olympic and WNBA star who's now in her third season with the Panthers. "Just for us to hang around for as long as we did, I thought that was a testament to our kids coming out and competing."Ashley Houts scored 13 points and Megan Darrah added 10 for the Bulldogs, who improved to 5-0 for the 13th time under coach Andy Landers.Candice Thompson scored 13 points and Gaati Werema had 12 for Prairie View A&M (1-5). Those two combined to shoot 12-for-24 from the floor; the rest of the Panthers went an abysmal 5-for-32."Prairie View's got nice pieces and they're going to get better and better," Landers said.His team has some pieces, too.Georgia will play Southern California on Saturday night in the tournament's Freeport Division championship game. USC rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit, getting two clutch baskets late from Camille LeNoir and a career-high 21 points from Nadia Parker to beat Virginia Tech 65-64 earlier Friday.In the Junkanoo's Lucaya Division, North Carolina State beat Washington State 77-51 and will play Eastern Michigan -- a 52-43 winner over Alabama -- in that bracket's title game Saturday afternoon.The tournament is played in a high school gym with metal bleachers on both sides, and most of the people on those silver rows of seating when the game began were players from USC or Virginia Tech -- who played the previous game.When those teams left at halftime, the place got considerably emptier.Glamorous, it was not.At least the sideline matchup was intriguing.Pacing and sighing at one end was Landers, who has led Georgia to 689 wins in his 29 seasons there. At the other was Cooper-Dyke, who led the Panthers to their first-ever winning season and an NCAA berth a year ago.Her Panthers hung close for a while, but simply couldn't keep up for long."It was very important to send a message," Humphrey said. "We hadn't played in a week. For us to have that time off and still come out and play hard and play aggressive, I think that says a lot about our team."They were down 33-19 at halftime, shooting only 30 percent in the first 20 minutes while getting outrebounded 27-15 and yielding 11 points off 11 turnovers.And if Georgia shot any better, things could have been even worse.The Bulldogs were 1-for-11 from 3-point range in the half and only got to the foul line six times -- after averaging 26 attempts from the stripe in the season's first four games.But Darrah connected from behind the arc on Georgia's second possession of the second half, putting the Dogs ahead 36-21 in their first-ever game outside the United States. The margin went to 48-26 with 12:25 left when Angela Puleo connected on a 3 from the right corner, and Georgia cruised from there.