Georgia crushed by Kentucky, 60-38, in SEC semis

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm •  Published: March 9, 2013
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DULUTH, Ga. (AP) — Georgia coach Andy Landers wanted his players to stick to the plan after a successful first half against Kentucky.

Instead, the Lady Bulldogs were so overwhelmed by Kentucky's defense they began launching bad shots that only added more misses to their ugly second half.

Georgia's hopes of its first Southeastern Conference tournament championship since 2001 ended as the Lady Bulldogs were overwhelmed in Saturday night's 60-38 semifinal loss to Kentucky.

Georgia led 24-19 at halftime before being outscored 41-14 in the second half. Kentucky took the lead with a 15-0 run early in the second half and closed the game with a 13-0 run.

Landers said everything went as he expected for 20 minutes.

"We've done the things we wanted to do the first half," Landers said. "We wanted to keep them out of the paint. We wanted to rebound the basketball. We wanted them to be one-and-done with no 3s. So we've done a pretty good job."

Landers said the obvious path was: "Same game plan second half."

"Didn't do it," Landers said. "We just quit doing what had put us in a successful position at halftime, which is pretty sad."

The Wildcats closed with a 13-0 run as Georgia didn't score in the final 6 minutes, adding to Landers' sour mood.

"Basketball is no fun when you don't hit shots," Landers said.

Jasmine Hassell led No. 12 Georgia (25-6) with 17 points. Georgia led 24-19 at halftime and stretched the lead to seven points before Kentucky took control with its 15-0 run.

Jennifer O'Neill sank 3-pointers on each end of the 15-0 run and DeNesh Stallworth had 18 points for No. 7 Kentucky (27-4), which will face No. 19 Texas A&M in Sunday night's final. The Wildcats, who lost to Tennessee in the 2010 and 2011 championship games, won their only tournament championship in 1982.

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell's mood at halftime was a good match for Landers' disposition after the game.

With his team trailing at halftime, Mitchell wrote two numbers on the board in the team's locker room: 12 and 3.

"Georgia had 12 offensive rebounds and we had three," Mitchell said. "I thought Georgia played with so much more intensity and desire in the first half. I was just livid about that."

The Wildcats got the message, turned up their intensity and outscored Georgia 41-14 in a devastating second half.