Lady Bulldogs fall to Saint Joseph's 67-57 in first round

Ford leads Georgia with 16 points

Associated PressMarch 23, 2014 

NCAA Saint Josephs Georgia Basketball

Georgia head coach Andy Landers reacts during a timeout in the second half of a first-round game against Saint Joseph's in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 23, 2014, in Storrs, Conn. Saint Joseph's won 67-57. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

JESSICA HILL — AP

STORRS, Conn. -- Erin Shields had 18 points and seven rebounds to lead ninth-seeded Saint Joseph's to a 67-57 win over eighth-seed Georgia in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday night.

Ashley Robinson added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who won in the tournament for the first time in 14 years. Natasha Cloud added 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Erika Ford had 16 points to lead Georgia, which finishes the season at 20-12. Merritt Hempe added 13 points and Krista Donald finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Hawks will play the either top-seeded UConn or Prairie View A&M in the second round Tuesday.

Saint Joseph's led by eight points at halftime and was up 42-32 early in the second half after a 3-pointer by Robinson.

But the Bulldogs got back into the game with a 14-4 run.

A foul shot by Merritt Hempe tied the game at 46, and a 3-point shot by Tiaria Griffin midway through the half gave Georgia a 50-49 lead.

That was the Lady Bulldogs only lead of the second half.

Hempe fouled on the other end after a made basket by Cloud, giving the ball back to Saint Joseph's. Robinson was then fouled and hit two free throws, part of a 10-0 run that put the Hawks back up by nine.

A jumper by Cloud made it 65-54 with less than 4 minutes left and Georgia could not mount another challenge.

The Hawks shot 46 percent from the floor and held Georgia to just 34 percent.

Saint Joseph's got off to a quick start, using a 10-4 run to take a 17-9 lead.

Georgia cut the deficit to three points on a jumper by Ford. But the Hawks scored the final five points of the half and took a 38-30 lead into intermission.

Shields had 14 first half points and was 4 of 6 from 3-point range, looking a lot more comfortable than she did a year ago on the same floor.

She was just 2 for 14 from during the Hawks' 2013 first-round loss to Vanderbilt, a game that also was played in Storrs.

Saint Joseph's was one of three Atlantic 10 teams in the tournament and the last one standing. Fordham, the conference tournament champion, lost by a point to California on Saturday. Dayton, the regular-season champion, lost to Florida on Sunday.

Cloud also had four assists Sunday, giving her 237 for the year, just four shy of the school's single-season record.

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service