7:30 PM ET, March 6, 2008
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Christy Marshall and Ashley Houts each scored 15 points, and Georgia (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) survived a surprisingly tough first-round game at the Southeastern Conference women's tournament Thursday night by beating Alabama 71-62.Fifth-seeded Georgia (22-8) won for the fifth time in six games and will play No. 4 seed Kentucky in the quarterfinals Friday night.The No. 12 seed Crimson Tide (8-22) came in having lost 13 straight games in SEC play with a roster featuring 10 underclassmen and starting two freshmen and two sophomores. But Alabama made it tough on the Lady Bulldogs for at least the first 25 minutes, with three ties and eight lead changes before finishing the season with a 14th loss.Alabama outshot Georgia and managed a tie at 32 in rebounds. But the Tide turned it over 19 times, which Georgia turned into 18 points.Georgia led 31-29 at halftime and was up only 41-40 when Katie Hancock hit a pair of free throws with 14:16 left.The Lady Bulldogs finally clicked into gear with a 12-2 run and grabbed their biggest lead at 53-42 on a jumper by Marshall. They just pushed it out from there to improve to 40-24 all-time in this tournament.Tasha Humphrey added 11 points for Georgia.Tierney Jenkins led Alabama with 18 points. Katie Hancock added 14 and Varisia Raffington 13.Georgia opened the game by scoring 10 of the first 12 points. That would be the Lady Bulldogs' biggest lead of the first half as Raffington answered with a 3-pointer, and the teams wound up tied three times with eight lead changes before Georgia went into halftime leading 31-29.