Photo by Tricia Spaulding
ATHENS -- Jasmine James knew she was going to be called on to win the game.
Whatever nerves the freshman had evaporated by the time she took the 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in overtime that went through and gave No. 8 Georgia a school-record 15-0 start with a 61-60 win over Kentucky on Thursday night.
"It was a game-winner, a big shot by a young player against a good team," said senior teammate Ashley Houts, who scored a career-high 27 points for the Lady Dogs. "That has to give her some confidence."
Houts scored a career-high 27 points for the Bulldogs, (2-0 Southeastern Conference). Georgia appeared to have the game won at the end of regulation after Meredith Mitchell blocked Amani Franklin's shot with 4 seconds to play.
Mitchell chased down the block and was fouled with 2.8 seconds left. She made the second free throw, but fouled Amber Smith on the inbound play. Smith hit both shots to tie it at 56 and force overtime.
"Entering overtime I just told our players to continue to defend," said Kentucky Coach Matthew Mitchell, who drew a technical foul in the first half. "We thought if we could get a lead that we could get enough stops for the win. That was not the case."
Kentucky (12-2, 0-1 SEC) went up 60-56 in overtime on a layup by Victoria Dunlap and two free throws by Franklin. Just when it looked as if the Bulldogs were ready to foul, the Wildcats threw the ball out of bounds trying to protect a 60-58 lead, setting up James' shot.
"I knew I needed to focus and knock it down," said James, who scored 11 points, but missed nine of 12 field goal attempts.
Smith led Kentucky with 15 points. Dunlap added 12.