Lady Dawgs advance in NCAAs

PHILADELPHIA -- Georgia freshman Cori Chambers had no inkling her breakout game would come here Saturday in front of a quasi-hometown crowd.

"You can never tell," she said. "Some games you come out and shoot lights out and some games you can't make a shot. You can't expect it or predict it really. At least, I can't yet."

Coach Andy Landers, in his 25th season with the Lady Bulldogs, can.

Landers has seen this coming "for six weeks," he said after Chambers scored a career-high 19 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs to a 78-53 victory over Liberty in the first round of the West Regional of the NCAA Women's Basketball Championships.

"She's gotten better every day," Landers said. "She wants to be good, and she's a great listener."

Third-seeded Georgia (23-9) will play sixth-seed TCU, which beat Temple 70-57 in the afternoon game at Temple's Liacouras Center.

The Liacouras Center is about the only place in Philadelphia where Chambers hadn't played prior to Saturday, she said. A native of Elmsford, N.Y., two-and-a-half hours away, Chambers played her final season of AAU basketball with the Philly Runnin' Rebels.

She looked right at home hitting eight of 15 shots while grabbing three rebounds and delivering three assists in front of about 30 family members, friends and former teammates.

"I'm really happy to be home," she said.

There is a downside to her performance, though. To hear Landers talk, it seems Chambers will never get off the bench if she keeps playing this well. She started 12 games earlier this year but eventually lost that starting spot to Janese Hardrick.

Landers thinks Chambers should be happy to come off the bench and not have the pressure of a starter. But he knows she's not.

"She's in the greatest position she could possibly be in and she wants to change it," he said. "She wants what those other people have, but she's not going to get it this year because I'm not going to screw her up with change."

Chambers had seven points in the first half as Georgia built a 30-21 lead. She had eight points in the first eight minutes of the second half, and the Lady Bulldogs opened up a 53-31 lead on her 3-pointer with 12:22 left in the game.

"Cori's that kind of shooter," Liberty coach Carey Green said. "There are times their perimeter players don't shoot the ball well from the outside. We were counting on an off night."

He didn't get it. Georgia shot 58.8 percent in the second half.

The 14th-seeded Lady Flames (25-7) were undone by that type of shooting and the ineffectiveness of their star, 6-foot-8 center Katie Feenstra. The two-time Big South Player of the Year came into the game sixth in the nation in scoring (21.5 ppg) but scored just eight against Georgia. She played only six minutes in the first half due to foul trouble.

The Lady Bulldogs forced Liberty into 21 turnovers.

"Georgia beat us," Green said. "They shot the ball very well, and we turned the ball over too many times."

Dawg Post Top Stories