Lady Dawgs get big win over LSU

ATHENS – Georgia made up for some aesthetic issues Thursday night with plenty of drama, not to mention its biggest win in three years.

Five-foot-6 Lady Bulldog freshman Ashley Houts hit a running, leaning 10-foot jump shot over 6-foot Ashley Thomas as the clock expired to give No. 14 Georgia a 53-51 win over No. 7 LSU in front of 4,450 in Stegeman Coliseum.

The basket came seven seconds after Sylvia Fowles had tied the game for LSU and was so close to the buzzer that lead official Lisa Mattingly watched a TV replay five times before awarding Georgia the win.

"She's made big shots before," senior guard Janese Hardrick said. "I don't think we reallyconsider her a freshman out there on the court because she plays at such a high level."

Houts took the inbounds pass after Fowles' basket and never looked to pass, putting her head down and driving up the left side of the court before hitting her game-winner.

"I just felt that we needed to get a shot off and that was the best way," she said.

She was right, Landers said.

"The thing that scared me was I thought she was going to pull out and see if she had options and with six seconds left you have to drive the basketball," he said. "She had the presence of mind and the balance to stay with it after two pretty good bumps and get down there and finish. It looked like she was diving into a pool when she shot."

If the shot hasn't pretty, at least the outcome was. The Lady Bulldogs hadn't beaten one of the conference's elite teams, the Lady Tigers or Tennessee, since the 2003-2004 season, a stretch that totaled nine games. Landers dismissed the significance of ending that bad run but acknowledged the victory could spark his team, which improved to 19-4 overall and 6-2 in the SEC.

"I think our confidence is growing," he said. "I don't want it to get boosted too muchbecause we've still got a lot to work on, but they've got a little charge out of this."

It was the first win for Landers against third-year Lady Tigers coach Pokey Chatman. LSU was held to its lowest total of the season and fell to 20-3 overall and 6-2 in the league.

"In the past, we'd always have that glass ceiling," said Georgia's Tasha Humphrey, who led her team with 15 points and 12 rebounds. "We'd be there at the end, but they'd always slam the door on us. I think this says a lot about our team."

Houts' shot only finished off what another freshman had started. Struggling center Angel Robinson made her most significant contribution as a Lady Bulldog by scoring nine points in a 15-3 Georgia run that took the Lady Bulldogs from behind 37-32 with 10:07 left to up 47-40 with 4:06 remaining. All 12 of Robinson's points came between the 11:32 mark and the 2:04 mark, when she fouled out.

"Tonight we were able to get her the ball when and where she is able to score," Landers said. The freshmen made up for an off night for Georgia's seniors. Hardrick and fellow senior guard Cori Chambers combined to shoot 3-for-22 from the floor. Chambers came through in the clutch, though, making both ends of a one-on-one with 38.6 seconds remaining to stop a 5-0 LSU run and put the Lady Bulldogs ahead 51-47.

Georgia finished with its worst shooting percentage (30.5) and second-lowest point total of the season. In the first 28 and a half minutes, the teams combined to shoot 20-for-85 from the floor, 10-for-41 for LSU and 10-for-44 for Georgia. The Lady Tigers shot 31.5 percent for the game.

"When you hold a team like Georgia to 53 points, you can't ask for more than that," Chatman said. "Well, I guess you can. You can score more than 53 points."

Up next for Georgia? No. 3 Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., on Monday night.

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