Lady Dawgs' upset bid falls one point short

ATHENS – Georgia forward Tasha Humphrey won an impressive individual matchup Sunday against the best player in the country. A late lack of poise, though, cost the Lady Bulldogs a chance to win the game against the third-ranked team in the land.

Humphrey scored 31 points, but 2005 player of the year Seimone Augustus hit the game-winner, a 10-foot jump shot from the right side with 13 seconds left, to give No. 3 LSU a 65-64 win in front of 7,007 fans in Stegeman Coliseum.

Humphrey, the reigning co-national freshman of the year, had 12 points in a four minute, 42 second stretch in the second half in which Georgia turned a 46-41 deficit into a 58-53 lead.

"If you've seen us in a big game, that's the way she plays," Lady Bulldog coach Andy Landers said. "She's a competitor. She answers the bell."

Humphrey never got a chance to answer Augustus' final basket. Georgia (13-5, 3-2 SEC) was in great position to set up a final play, but senior point guard Alexis Kendrick rushed up a long 3-pointer with six seconds remaining.

"(Landers) called a play," Kendrick said. "I didn't run it. I took a shot with too much time left, and we lost. I felt I had a shot and I took it. You have to live with the choices you make, and I'll take the blame."

No one but Kendrick touched the ball on the final possession. Landers had called for a baseline clear out for lightning quick guard Sherrill Baker, he said, hoping to draw a foul.

"Yeah, I would have liked to have had the ball in my hand, but that's the not how the pages turned," Humphrey said.

Landers was mystified by Kendrick's decision and several others. With Georgia nursing three-point lead with three minutes left, Landers called for a clear out drive by sophomore Megan Darrah, but Darrah took a 3-pointer and missed.

"She didn't even put it on the floor," Landers said. "She didn't even bounce it. We had the whole side cleared out, and it didn't happen. We had players do things contrary to what we wanted them to do. It wasn't just the final possession."

Humphrey, who was defended by 6-foot-6 LSU center Sylvia Fowles most of the afternoon, also had 11 rebounds to go with her second-highest scoring output of the season. She hit 12-of-20 shots, including 4-of-5 from behind the 3-point line.

"I don't think it was playing Seimone," she said. "It was playing LSU that got me motivated."

Augustus played all 40 minutes of the game and only missed two of her 12 field goal attempts to finish with 24 points. On the final play, she came around several baseline screens and hit the decisive shot.

"When she takes shots like that, we know it's going in," said Fowles, who had 11 points and 15 rebounds.

Overall, Landers was pleased with the way his team played, he said.

"When you do that good a job and mess it up at the end," he said, "it hurts."

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