SPOKANE, Wash. --- The Georgia women’s basketball team led by double digits in the second half but suffered a tough 65-62 overtime loss to the No. 2 seed California in Elite Eight action Monday night at the Spokane Arena, ending their 2013 season at 28-7.
Freshman Shacobia Barbee led the Bulldogs with a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double effort, while senior Jasmine James had 11 points, seven rebounds, and five assists before fouling out down the stretch. Anne Marie Armstrong had 12 points – including a put-back with seven seconds left in regulation to force overtime – in her final collegiate contest.
The Lady Bulldogs led Cal 26-21 at the half, using stifling defense while the Golden Bears shot just 24 percent on an 8-for-23 clip over the first 20:00. It was the freshman Barbee who led the way for Georgia in the opening period, with a team-best six points to go along with five rebounds.
The Lady Bulldogs had built a five-point lead at the midway point of the first frame as Cal went nearly seven minutes without a bucket before Talia Caldwell ended the drought with a lay-up that made it 9-4 with 10:40 to play in the first. A short jumper for Afure Jemerigbe followed by a three for Layshia Clarendon tied things up at 9-9 with 8:12 to go, but Georgia strung together a few solid possessions as time wound down on the half, and a three-pointer from freshman Tiaria Griffin with 3:14 left pushed the Lady Dogs in front by six at 23-17.
The Golden Bears trimmed it to 23-21 before a big three from the senior Anne Marie Armstrong from deep in the corner pushed it back to five, 26-21, with 12 seconds remaining in the half and Cal failed to score on its final opportunity before the break.
Coming out of halftime the Lady Bulldogs built an eight-point lead, 32-24, with 18:01 to play on a Barbee jumper, and a nine-point lead at 34-25 on a pull-up jumper in the lane for Armstrong to beat the shot clock with 17:08 remaining. But the Golden Bears would put together an 11-3 run over the next five minutes to pull to within just one, 37-36, with 12 minutes on the clock, capped by a jumper for Clarendon on the wing.
The lead slid back to seven as the Lady Dogs kicked off a run of their own, concluding with a strong move to the basket and the lay-up for senior Jasmine James, and grew to eight when James made good on another lay-up in traffic that made it 47-39 with 7:45 to go.
The Lady Bulldogs took their first double-digit lead at 49-39 on a pair of free throws from Barbee with 6:46 left, but Cal again clawed back and suddenly it was back to a two-point game, 50-48, with just 3:32 to go on what amounted to a 9-1 Golden Bear run over that span. It moved to an 11-1 run and a tie ballgame, 50-50, with a second straight lay-up from Caldwell with 2:53 to play.
After Cal had taken a 52-50 lead on a pair of free throws with 2:19 left, it came down to Armstrong’s put-back off a Griffin miss, followed by her own miss, to tie the game at 52-52 with just seven ticks on the clock. More aggressive Lady Dog defense at the other end pinned Cal by the sideline and the Bears couldn’t get a good look the basket as the teams were headed to extra time in Spokane.
Khaalidah Miller opened overtime with a triple for Georgia, but Cal answered with nine straight points before Barbee knocked down two from the line with a minute to go that made it a 61-57 deficit for UGA. Armstrong knocked down a three with just four seconds left that made it a 64-62 game, but the Lady Bulldogs couldn’t get any closer.
Awaiting the Bears in New Orleans will be the winner of the No. 2 Tennessee and No. 5 Louisville game which takes place Tuesday night. Louisville knocked off top overall seed Baylor on Sunday. No. 1 UConn punched their ticket to New Orleans with a 83-53 victory over No. 2 Kentucky in the Bridgeport Region. No. 1 Notre Dame faces No. 2 Duke in the other Tuesday night matchup.