Sweet! Lady Dawgs move on

PHILADELPHIA -- Georgia learned its lesson in Nashville, Tenn.

The Lady Bulldogs surrendered an 18-point lead to Vanderbilt there two weeks ago and lost the SEC Tournament championship game, but they refused Monday to leave the NCAA Women's Basketball Championships the same way.

After watching a 21-point second-half lead shrink to eight, Georgia, the third seed in the West Regional, collected itself and held off sixth-seeded Texas Christian 85-71 in a second round game. The Lady Bulldogs (24-9) advance from the Liacouras Center at Temple University, where 2,047 watched Monday's game, to Seattle, Wash., and the program's 14th Sweet 16.

They will play the winner of today's game between second-seeded Purdue and seventh-seeded Villanova on Saturday.

Georgia led 65-44 when All-SEC center Christi Thomas fouled out with 10:51 remaining. Thomas, who had 19 points and 12 rebounds in 27 minutes, was whistled for a non-shooting foul on TCU guard Niki Newton.

"I can't say a whole lot about all those fouls," Georgia coach Andy Landers said.

Newton hit both of her free throws to start a 15-2 TCU run that ended when Tiffany Evans hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make the score 67-59 with 7:48 left.

"I had the flash (of a memory), but I never had the thought," Landers said. "It didn't linger in my head."

It lingered in the head of Thomas, who called it "the longest nine minutes of my life," and in the heads of the Lady Frogs.

"One of our assistant coaches reminded us of that (Vanderbilt comeback)," TCU center Sandora Irvin said. "That's what got it started. Unfortunately, it was too deep of a hole."

Irvin, the Lady Frogs' only all-conference selection, also spent most of the game in foul trouble. She picked up her fourth foul with 15:57 left but still finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

TCU (25-7) saw its season end in the second round for the fourth straight season.

Without Thomas, Georgia relied on a second-straight solid performance from forward Jessica Pierce and the quickness of its guards. Pierce, who had 17 in Georgia's first-round win over Liberty, tied her career high with 18 on Monday.

Georgia's starting guards -- Sherrill Baker, Alexis Kendrick and Janese Hardrick -- all finished with double figures in scoring. Baker filled up the box score with 14 points, eight rebounds, six assists and six steals while playing 39 minutes.

"Our guards played in the positions we wanted them to play in," Landers said. "They influenced the game the way we wanted them to influence it. As my wife the second-grade teacher says, they were pretty much on task today."

Baker stopped TCU's big run with a slicing basket with 7:04 left to put Georgia ahead 79-69, and the Lady Frogs never got closer than eight after that.

The Lady Bulldogs had a big run of their own, but it came in the first half. After TCU's Tracy Wynn scored with 1:17 left in the first half to pull the Lady Frogs within five at 41-36, but the Lady Bulldogs went on a 17-2 spurt. A short Thomas jumper gave Georgia a 58-38 lead with 13:07 left in the game.

The Lady Frogs went nine minutes and five seconds without a field goal after Wynn's basket.

"You dig yourself into a hole like that against a good team," TCU coach Jeff Mittie said, "and you've got to have a little luck."

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