Georgia women make another Sweet 16 - now the bigger task awaits

semerson@macon.comMarch 26, 2013 

In an exciting, back-and-forth game that took place late at night on the East Coast, the Georgia women's basketball team escaped Iowa State, 65-60, and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

Now the Bulldogs will stay in Spokane, Wash., where they won their first two games, and await the next round.

Georgia (27-6) will face either top-seeded Stanford or Michigan on Saturday. The Cardinal and Wolverines play on Tuesday night - but Stanford is the prohibitive favorite.

“I guess we’ll start preparing for the winner of Stanford and whoever they are playing," Georgia senior Anne Marie Armstrong said, according to a transcript. "But just watch their game and start preparing for that and just get mentally ready. Maybe rest a little bit tomorrow and then start working and preparing and working on our offense and how we’re going to guard them.”

It's the 20th berth in the Sweet 16 for head coach Andy Landers and the Bulldogs, who have made a total of 30 trips to the NCAAs. They made the Sweet 16 two years ago.

But it's been awhile since the Bulldogs went further: They last made the Elite 8 in 2004, and haven't made the Final Four since 1999. Landers has guided the team to two national championship game appearances, in 1996 and 1985.

"One of the things that had to do with change was getting back to the tradition of Georgia basketball and the tradition of Georgia basketball is Sweet 16s, Elite 8s, Final Fours, competing in the National Championship games, not just to go to the NCAA Tournament," guard Jasmine James said. "So to win this game tonight and to be making that step to be going to the Sweet 16 and trying to compete in order to try to work to get to the Elite 8 is a definite step."

"I think our seniors, when we first got here as freshmen, our theme was change," forward Jasmine Hassell said. "Ever since then, that's been our theme kind of because we came in at a point in time where Georgia needed a little change, and as you see, we continued to change and do some big things for Georgia.

There were five ties and three lead changes in the first half, with neither team leading by more than four points.

Georgia went on a 10-2 run to open the second half, then led by as many as 14. But Iowa State went on a 19-1 lead late in the game and took a four-point lead with 2:32 lead.

Georgia answered with consecutive 3s by freshman Shacobia Barbee and Armstrong. After Iowa State tied it, Armstrong made a reverse layup, then Barbee hit three free throws.

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