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Georgia defeats No. 2 seed Clemson 67-54

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Posted: Wednesday March 24, 1999 10:01 PM

  Kelly Miller and Georgia grabbed the game by the throat with a 10-0 run in the second half. AP

CINCINNATI (CNN/SI) -- No. 2 seed Clemson's remarkable run through the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament and NCAA Tournament ended Saturday.

Third-seeded Georgia used a custom-designed zone defense to defeat the Tigers 67-54 in the Mideast Regional. The Lady Bulldogs advance to face No. 4 seed Iowa State on Monday.

"We've had the zone for three days," said Georgia coach Andy Landers. "We worked for about two hours total on the zone."

Kelly Miller led Georgia with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while the team's leading scorer and Miller's twin sister, Coco, was 0-for-7 from the field and scoreless for the first time in her two-year career.

"I have to give Kelly credit for switching gears," Landers said. "Normally, we're a running team, but today we had to play patterned basketball, and she did a great job."

The Bulldogs, who used a 10-0 run to take control midway through the second half, will play Iowa State in the finals Monday night. Iowa State upset top-seeded Connecticut 64-58 in Saturday's early game.

Clemson coach Jim Davis said Georgia took away the best part of the Lady Tigers' game.

"They didn't let us do what we do best -- work on the blocks and get to the free-throw line. They got more out of the high-low post game than we thought they would.

"I also thought, in the first half, we should have been ahead by 10 or 12 points, but we missed so many shots we normally make. That was the difference in the game."

Tawana McDonald had 12 points for Georgia (26-6), and Elena Vishniakova and Pam Irwin-Osbolt had 10 apiece.

Natasha Anderson led Clemson (26-6) with 12 points, Erin Batth had 11 and Amy Geren had 10.

Clemson led 28-26 at halftime and increased that to a seven-point lead in the early minutes of the second half, until Georgia started to chip away.

Clemson still led 44-43 with 11:13 to play, but then Georgia went on a 10-0 run, holding Clemson scoreless for six minutes.

Irwin-Osbolt started and ended the Georgia run. She scored on a jumper, Vishniakova and Kelly Miller each hit two free throws, Deanna Nolan scored on a layup and another basket by Irwin-Osbolt gave Georgia a 53-44 lead.

Batth finally broke the Clemson drought with 5:12 remaining. But consecutive baskets by McDonald offset two more by Batth, and Georgia closed out the game with a 10-4 run in the final 53 seconds.

"It's a great feeling," Irwin-Osbolt said about reaching the final eight -- the eighth time for Georgia. "It's always a great feeling when you're the underdog and win. The team deserves this win."

Clemson, forced to settle for long range shots in the second half, was just 2-of-11 on 3-pointers after hitting 2-of-3 in the first half. The Lady Tigers were 8-of-11 on free throws in the first half, but never went to the line in the second half.

It was just the opposite for Georgia, which was 5-of-10 on first-half free throws. But as Clemson lost the lead and was forced to foul, Georgia hit 15-of-18 in the second half.

The Lady Bulldogs also picked up their field goal shooting in the second half, hitting 46 percent of their shots after making just 29 percent in the first half.

The Georgia win gave Landers 33 NCAA tournament victories, moving him past Tara VanDerveer into third place on the coaches' list.

Related information
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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