UK Hoops' Comeback Thwarted by Georgia
Jan. 9, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Georgia coach Andy Landers had a simple explanation for Khaalidah Miller's career game - she got a lot of shots.
Miller scored a career-high 24 points to help the Lady Bulldogs end No. 10 Kentucky's 25-game home winning streak with a 61-59 victory on Sunday.
"She ends up with a lot of shots because she doesn't screen for anybody else," Landers said, jokingly. "You're going through the offense and you're screening, she'll make sure nobody else is open because she won't screen for them."
Miller made her shots count, hitting 10 of the 14, as she helped the Lady Bulldogs (12-3, 2-0) to a lead as large as seven points in the second half. But Kentucky (11-4, 0-2) came back to tie the game four times after halftime.
Three of those ties were broken by Miller field goals. She had 16 points in the second half and despite breaking even four times, Kentucky never took the lead in the second half.
"I think I was feeling it and my teammates played a lot into it," Miller said. "We got out there and had a pretty good warm-up, which sparked us really well at the beginning of the game. We worked together and played as a team, and we got each other good, open looks."
The Lady Bulldogs weren't playing perfectly, though. Once Kentucky got back in the game, the Memorial Coliseum crowd got loud and Wildcats coach Matthew Mitchell dialed up his team's characteristic full-court press. And three times in the second half, trying to play out from under the suffocating press, a Georgia player carelessly stepped out of bounds.
"We looked like wide receivers in football trying to stop the clock. We were catching balls and running out of bounds with them," Landers said.
Kentucky's Victoria Dunlap led her team with 17 points, 15 of which came in the second half. She also led the charge on the glass, helping UK grab 14 offensive rebounds after halftime to keep her team in the game despite shooting 29.5 percent from the field.
The Wildcats have seen this plenty of times throughout the home winning streak: Miss shots, dig a hole, come back. Dunlap said she figured that would happen again Sunday.
"Especially when we got the spark and we knew we were coming back," she said. "We usually get that thump where we know we're taking over the game."
Even though that "thump" never fully came, the Wildcats had a late chance to send the game into overtime. Georgia's Ronika Ransford missed the front end of a one-and-one with 6.6 seconds left, and Dunlap handed off the rebound to A'dia Mathies.
With no timeouts, Mathies ran the length of the court unguarded; Georgia didn't want to foul since UK was in the double bonus. Mathies' 4-foot runner clanked hard off the backboard and the front of the rim as time expired.
As the clock ran out and Mathies' shot missed, Landers had run out of reasons to be paranoid.
"The things that we did today, that's what had me concerned," he said. "I was just afraid that a couple of them were plotting to find more ways to lose than we were going to find to win."