Braxton Carries Georgia Past Western Kentucky

Georgia overcomes slow start to get 17th win of the year

Feb 19, 2002

ATHENS, Ga. -- The 23rd-ranked Georgia women's basketball team overcame a slow start to knock off Western Kentucky 76-58 on Tuesday at Stegeman Coliseum.

The Lady Hilltoppers raced to an 18-8 lead in the first six minutes of the game on the strength of a combined 14 points by forward Natalie Powers and guard Kristina Covington.

A few minutes later, the Lady Bulldogs got things going their way as they reeled off 21 straight points to turn a 20-12 deficit into a 33-20 advantage. Forward Ebony Felder sparked the run with eight points.

"Getting behind early is not what you want to do, but I sort of expected it," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "We were off on Monday and when we practice the day after an off day it takes us 30 to 45 minutes to get in sync. Western Kentucky is very good with the dribble and penetration and shooting the three, and it got our attention. It made us understand what we needed to defend."

Forward Kara Braxton led the Lady Bulldogs with 26 points, including 15 in the second half. Center Tawana McDonald pitched in 17 points and had eight rebounds, while Felder scored 10 points and pulled down 10 boards. For Felder, it was her fifth straight game with at least 10 rebounds.

Georgia out-rebounded Western Kentucky 45-28. No Lady Hilltopper had more than three boards.

"All of our frontline players were good," Landers said. "They missed some shots in the first half, but after that they came up big. Felder is doing an incredible job on the boards."

With one blocked shot, McDonald took over first place in the Georgia record book for career blocks with 291. She had tied the mark of 290 set by Katrina McClain in Sunday's game with Florida.

Georgia committed just nine turnovers -- eight coming in the first half -- which is far below their season average of 21 per game.

"That's terrific," Landers said. "It's a real credit to all the players the way they took care of the ball."

Covington paced the Lady Hilltoppers with 18 points, followed by Powers with 12 and guard Camryn Whitaker with 10.

"They are a tough team to play inside," Western Kentucky coach Marti Whitmore said. "Their inside play was something we could not match. I was pleased with our effort. We came together and put forth a respectable effort."

With the win, the Lady Bulldogs improved to 17-8 overall. They will carry a 5-7 Southeastern Conference mark into Thursday's home finale with Alabama. Georgia will wrap up the regular season on Sunday at Arkansas.

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