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Georgia's Miller twins lead the Lady Bulldogs to victory

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Posted: Sunday March 14, 1999 01:55 AM


ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Georgia won the battle of the twins Saturday night. More important, the Lady Bulldogs advanced in the NCAA Tournament.

Kelly Miller scored 24 points and twin sister Coco added 17, leading the Lady Bulldogs to a 73-52 victory over Liberty in the first round of the NCAA Mideast Regional.

Sarah and Sharon Wilkerson, Liberty's set of look-alikes, matched up reasonably well against Georgia's twins. But the Flames as a whole couldn't contain the taller, deeper Lady Bulldogs, who will play Southern Methodist in the second round Monday night.

"It was nice to meet them. They're sweet girls," said Sarah Wilkerson, who scored 18 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists. "But once we got on the floor, it was Liberty against Georgia. I never even thought about the twins."

Third-seeded Georgia (24-6) trailed No. 14 Liberty (21-8) through much of the first half before taking control with a 13-3 run, going to the break with a 29-24 lead.

The Flames hung close in the second half before tiring in the final eight minutes, allowing the Lady Bulldogs to finish up with a 19-7 spurt that turned the game into a rout.

Georgia had a height advantage at every position but one and the Lady Bulldogs' bench outscored the Liberty reserves 17-1.

"I think fatigue played a role in this game," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "We are a little deeper than them and it showed. We kept the heat on them and, as the game wore on, they made some turnovers that led to some layups for us. We just wore on them in the second half."


Elena Kisseleva also scored 18 points for Liberty, while Sharon Wilkerson added 10 points but hit only 4 of 18 shots from the field.

The Millers held a four-inch height advantage over the Wilkersons, which the Georgia players put to good use when the twins were matched against each other at both ends of the court.

"They're great players," said Kelly Miller, who was 10 of 17 shooting, including three 3-pointers. "It was a lot of fun to play against them."

Kelly Miller also led Georgia with 11 rebounds and four assists, while 6-foot-4 Tawana McDonald -- two inches taller than anyone who played for Liberty -- had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Georgia held a commanding 52-34 edge on the boards, including 19 at the offensive end.

The Lady Bulldogs were sloppy in the first half and finished with 17 turnovers, but those miscues led to only one point for Liberty. The Flames shot just 33 percent from the field.

Liberty twice built a five-point lead in the first half, the last coming at 21-15 on Sharon Wilkerson's jumper with 8:04 remaining. But Sarah Wilkerson, the Liberty point guard, went to the bench for about six minutes after picking up her second foul, and the Lady Bulldogs took advantage of her absence.

Elena Vishniakova put Georgia ahead to stay by following up a missed shot, making it 22-21 with 5:20 to go.

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