Tallahassee, FL - The No. 21 Georgia Lady Bulldogs (22-9) fell to the Marist Red Foxes (26-7), 76-70, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Sunday afternoon.
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the outcome of the ballgame, but we want to congratulate Marist for doing such a good job with what they do," said head coach Andy Landers. "They’re very good with their motion offense. They can hurt you in a number of different ways. Today, they hurt us with the drive. Our defense wasn’t very good and they were very good with executing their drive options which led to layups and fouls. At the end of the day, that’s the way the game was decided.”
The Lady Bulldogs were led by Khaalidah Miller with 21 points, including five three-pointers and a 4-of-4 effort from the free throw line. Krista Donald recorded eight points and nine rebounds to lead Georgia on the boards for the fourth time this season.
Meredith Mitchell scored 15 points and tallied four rebounds and three steals, while Jasmine James notched 12 points, four rebounds and a team-high five steals.
“You don’t prepare for that last loss, and I’m always at a loss of what to say, especially to my team," continued Landers. "We normally come back in a few days after reality has set in and visit with our team and talk about the year and game and everything. I really don’t have a reaction. It’s difficult regardless of which round you go out in because you want to play for championships.”
The Lady Bulldogs took the first significant lead of the game, going up 10-4 just 3:34 in. Georgia maintained the lead for a majority of the first half. but an 11-0 run by Marist gave the Red Foxes a 26-20 lead with just under six minutes on the clock.
Georgia used an 8-2 run that lasted three minutes to tie the score, 28-28. Marist used a pair of treys in the last minute of the first half to go up 37-32 at halftime.
Mitchell left the floor with four minutes remaining in the first half due to foul trouble. Mitchell amassed four fouls in 10 minutes of play. In those 10 minutes, she also shot 3-of-4 from the field and led the team in first-half rebounds with four.
The Lady Bulldogs won the first half rebounding battle, pulling down 18 to Marist's 16, and scored 11 second-chance points.
Marist opened the second half with an 8-2 run that gave them their largest lead of the game, 45-34. The Red Foxes continued to lead by at least six until 12:58 when James sparked a 7-0 Georgia surge with a three-pointer. The Lady Bulldogs used that run to pull within two, 55-53, for the first time since the first half.
Mitchell sank a three-point shot with 9:41 remaining to put Georgia up 58-57. Georgia was up 60-59 with 7:01 remaining when Mitchell fouled out. Marist then outscored the Lady Bulldogs 10-2 over the next 3:08.
James assisted a Miller trey with 2:40 on the clock to pull Georgia within four, 69-65. Seconds later, Marist went back up by six, 71-65, off a pair of free throws by Casey Dunlin. WIth 1:37 remaining, the Red Foxes then took their largest lead in 12 minutes, 74-65, off a three-point play by Corielle Yarde. Yarde led Marist with 21 points.
Georgia was unable to take back the lead, but a last second three-pointer by Miller brought the final score to 76-70.