PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Cori Chambers scored a career-high 19 points
and Jessica Pierce added 17 to lead Georgia to a 78-53 win over
Liberty in the first round of the West Regional on Saturday.
The third-seeded Bulldogs (23-9) will play sixth-seeded TCU on
Kristal Tharp scored 15 points and Katie Feenstra had 10
rebounds for 14th-seed Liberty (25-7). The Flames, of the Big South
Conference, lost a first-round game for the eighth straight year.
It's the third time since 1999 the Flames lost in the first round
The Bulldogs pulled away from the Flames in the second half,
capitalizing on a 22-10 run to cruise to an easy win in their 21st
Liberty had 10 turnovers in the first 10 minutes, but stayed
close in the first half because of weak shooting by the Bulldogs.
Georgia scored the first nine points, then went into a shooting
funk. The Bulldogs missed 16 of their first 20 attempts, allowing
the Flames to dent the lead.
Liberty got two 3-pointers from Tharp to pull to 19-17 with 5:05
left in the first half. Liberty, a fundamentalist Christian college
founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, had several hundred boisterous
fans who cheered every basket to the very end.
They reached a crescendo after Tharp's second 3, but the
Bulldogs closed with an 11-4 run and led 30-21 at halftime. It was
never close after that, with Georgia recovering from its poor start
to finish a respectable 45 percent from the field.
Sherill Baker added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Georgia.
Liberty had 21 turnovers and shot 33 percent. Tharp was the only
player in double digits.
All the missed shots led to plenty of rebounds, with Liberty
outrebounding the Bulldogs 44-42.
The game reunited Georgia coach Andy Landers with Liberty coach
Carey Green. The two longtime friends graduated four years apart
from Friendsville High School in Tennessee.