Lady Bulldogs hold Bruins to one FG in final 15 minutes

MINNEAPOLIS -- There was nothing pretty about Georgia's

victory over pesky Belmont in the first round of the NCAA

Tournament on Saturday.

And the Lady Bulldogs know that they'll be heading home early if

they put up another performance similar to this one on Monday

night against Iowa State.

The tournament-tested Lady Bulldogs held the newcomers from

Nashville to one field goal in the final 15:22 of an ugly 53-36 win

at Williams Arena.

"We definitely have to step it up," Georgia forward Christy

Marshall said. "We can't go into the second round playing like

that. If we want to stick around, we have to play harder."

Ashley Houts had 10 points and six assists for Georgia, which

held the Bruins to 20 percent shooting and forced 22 turnovers.

Gritty Belmont (25-7) withstood an early shot from the Bulldogs,

turning the game into a sloppy turnover fest that kept it close in

the second half.

The two teams combined to miss 82 shots and turn the ball over

35 times.

"We're guarding people, we're hitting shots, then we started

missing shots and, the more we missed, the less we attacked on the

defensive end," coach Andy Landers said. "That's unfortunate, but

that's where it was."

With the Hall of Fame coach throwing his hands up in disgust for

much of the game, third-seeded Georgia (26-6) took over the game on

defense to advance to play sixth-seeded Iowa State on Monday night.

Alysha Clark led Belmont with 12 points and 13 rebounds, but the

Bruins were just 1-for-25 on 3-pointers.

"We had wide-open shots, we just couldn't knock them down,"

Clark said. "If we would have been hitting our shots, it would

have been a different game."

The game looked like a monumental mismatch on paper, with

Georgia making its 24th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and

Belmont here for the first time.

That's not all.

Georgia has won 765 games in 28 seasons under Landers, who

coached his 1,000th game Saturday. He knows how to handle the

distractions of the NCAA Tournament, having led the Bulldogs to 13

straight berths, and 16 rounds of 16 and five Final Fours in his


Few casual basketball fans even know where Belmont is on a map.

The small school of about 4,500 students in Nashville, Tenn.,

has only been playing Division I basketball for 10 years since

making the jump from the NAIA in 1997.

Even the little things got in Bruins' way on their first trip to

the big one. Belmont coach Tony Cross marveled on Friday at all the

paperwork his team had to fill out, calling it "kind of


But the loss did little to temper the Bruins' enthusiasm.

"It helps our program," Belmont forward Tereva Moore said.

"It lets people know where Belmont is. We're going to be back. It

gives us confidence."

The Bruins looked predictably starry-eyed in the first 2½ minutes, falling behind 11-0 and missing their first seven shots.

"I've never been shut out, so I figured we were going to score

sometime, hopefully sooner or later," Cross deadpanned.

They didn't give up.

The Bruins trailed by 12 points at halftime, but outscored

Georgia 11-4 in the first six minutes to cut the lead to 34-29.

They frustrated Bulldogs star Tasha Humphrey, who came into the

game averaging 16.1 points and 8.0 rebounds but scored just nine

points on 3-for-10 shooting.

Belmont also out-rebounded Georgia 46-39 and grabbed 20

offensive boards.

"The problem was we didn't clean up after ourselves," Landers

said. "We played reasonably good defense, but allowed them to get

to the offensive boards far, far, far too many times."