Lady Dawgs top #11 Stanford

ATHENS – Georgia's women's basketball team has developed a bit of a reputation for letting big leads get away.

Ashley Houts, being a freshman, doesn't know any of that history, and she played like it Sunday in Stegeman Coliseum. With the No. 8 Lady Bulldogs on the verge of blowing and11-point lead against No. 11 Stanford, Houts hit four free throws in the final 17 seconds to seal a 74-69 win.

Not bad for a player who entered the game a 78 percent free throw shooter and had hit just 2-of-5 before her decisive shots.

"I felt like they were targeting me at the end of the game," said Houts, who had contributed more turnovers (six) than points before the final 17 seconds. "You've got to hit them when there's pressure, and I felt like I could hit them, so I stepped up and did."

Georgia coach Andy Landers wasn't surprised to see his newcomer make the pressure shots.

"Especially that freshman," he said. "She's lived that scenario out who knows how many times. Point guards, that's kind of what they do in close games, having to go to the line and hit free throws."

If the significance of the shots was lost on Houts, it was not on the Lady Bulldog veterans.

"Ever since I've been here, we've let a lot of leads slip away in close games," said junior Rebecca Rowsey, who scored the only Lady Bulldog field goal in the final 6:40. "It gives us a lot of confidence to close one out."

Georgia (5-0) has now beaten two highly ranked teams with its best player, forward Tasha Humphrey, out due to suspension.

"The past couple years we've never been able to win the big ones and we've never been able to finish the close games," said junior Megan Darrah, who had 11 second-half points to finish with 15. "We always end up on the losing end of them, so to finally be able to win those and be able to hit those free throws down the stretch felt good."

Landers sees a different confidence and composure from this year's team down late in close games, he said.

"We're all well aware we've let some slip through our fingers the last few years, and they're aware that we're seeing them through (this year)," he said.

In their season-opener, the Lady Bulldogs beat then-No. 11 Rutgers after nearly blowing a double-digit lead. Against Stanford (2-3), Georgia led 66-55 after a basket by Darrah with 6:16 left. The Cardinal closed the gap to 70-69 on a layup by Jillian Harmon with 20 seconds left.

Stanford then missed three straight free throws with a chance to tie or take the lead, setting up Houts' heroics.

Cori Chambers led Georgia with 21 points.

NOTE: Freshman center Angel Robinson, who missed all of last year with a left knee injury, had a scare with 6:20 left when she collapsed to the floor, but she only suffered a minor ankle injury. "I'll be fine," she said.

Dawg Post Top Stories