8:00 PM ET, November 24, 2007
FREEPORT, Bahamas (AP) -- Georgia survived another close call, and Tasha Humphrey thinks that bodes well for the Bulldogs' hopes this season.Humphrey finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds and the eighth-ranked Bulldogs held off upset-minded Southern California 59-57 on Saturday night to win the Junkanoo Jam's Freeport Division championship.It was Georgia's second single-digit win in nine days; the 'Dogs survived a 57-51 test from Temple last week."We didn't expect this to be easy," Humphrey said. "It was tough. That'll help us when we get into the SEC and the rest of the season. But I'm glad our team persevered through the tribulations."There were many of them, courtesy of USC (2-2).The Women of Troy had a chance to win it with 3 seconds left, but Camille LeNoir's 3-pointer bounced off the front of the rim. USC got the ball back after a deflection, only to have its final inbound pass stolen by Angel Robinson at the buzzer.Robinson added 15 points for the Bulldogs (6-0), who rallied from a six-point halftime deficit and found themselves trailing again with 7 1/2 minutes remaining. Angela Puleo scored 11 for Georgia.Aarika Hughes had 13 points for USC, which shot just 29 percent in the second half."I was happy with the way the kids played, for sure," USC coach Mark Trakh said. "We're a relatively young team. We do have some building blocks from this."Ashley Houts hit a free throw to put Georgia up 59-57, then missed the second and USC called time-out with 12.9 seconds left. Knowing the Bulldogs had two fouls to give, Houts wrapped up LeNoir -- the hero of USC's comeback over Virginia Tech on Friday night -- with 8 seconds remaining.Earlier Saturday, Virginia Tech beat Prairie View A&M 74-66 in the Freeport consolation game. In the Lucaya Division, North Carolina State beat Eastern Michigan 63-41 for that bracket's championship, while Alabama ended a 19-game losing streak by downing injury-riddled Washington State 66-37 for third place.Georgia led by as many as seven in the opening minutes, before missing 12 of its final 15 shots of the period -- and USC took advantage.Not only did USC quickly erase the Bulldogs' early edge, but the Women of Troy closed the half on an 8-2 run, with 3-pointers from Hughes and Heather Oliver helping their team take a 34-28 lead into the locker room.Oliver had the other basket in that spurt, a layup with 2:45 left that put USC up by five -- marking the first time all season Georgia trailed by more than three.The 3-pointer was huge for USC throughout the half. Entering Saturday, Georgia's first five opponents combined to shoot 20-for-85 -- 24 percent -- from behind the arc, but USC connected on 5 of 13 tries in the first 20 minutes.USC's tries from behind the arc went cold early in the second half, with its first seven all failing to connect, and Georgia responded with a 19-6 run capped by a pair of free throws by Humphrey that gave the 'Dogs a 47-40 lead.The Women of Troy then got consecutive 3-pointers from LeNoir and Brynn Cameron, the last of which put USC up 48-47 with 7:33 to play, and the lead changed hands five times in the next 2 1/2 minutes, neither team ever able to pull away."Tonight was kind of unusual," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "We hold Southern Cal to 57. But we could only get to 59. We didn't shoot the ball well. We got a lot of good shots and missed them all."
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