- Associated Press - Sunday, February 1, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Georgia coach Andy Landers lauded his team’s comeback against No. 10 Kentucky.

He just wishes the Bulldogs hadn’t fallen behind by so much in the 80-72 loss Sunday.

No. 21 Georgia (17-5, 5-4 Southeastern Conference) overcame a 17-point first-half deficit before faltering down the stretch.

The Bulldogs led 72-70 with 2:41 left, but the Wildcats scored the final 10 points, including eight from senior guard Jennifer O’Neill, sending the Lady Bulldogs to their second straight conference loss.

“We started the game out of focus and really, really poorly,” Landers said. “Had I not substituted early, we may have gotten buried even deeper than we were. We went to the bench and they gave us a spark.”

In Georgia’s first game without leading scorer Shacobia Barbee, who broke her leg in a 59-51 loss to Tennessee last Sunday, the Lady Bulldogs struggled early. Guard Tiaria Griffin helped spark the team’s comeback in the second half, making four 3-pointers.

Griffin scored 23 points.

Despite the comeback, Georgia couldn’t contain O’Neill, especially in the final two minutes.

“To me, that was the lift we needed,” Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said of O’Neill’s play. “We were emotionally spent. It was a great win. Any of them right now are great for us.”

The Bulldogs rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit, and a 3-pointer by Griffin gave Georgia its first lead at 59-58 with 8:50 remaining.

There were four ties and six lead chances in the second half before O’Neill’s 3 put the Wildcats in front for good.

Mitchell said the Lady Bulldogs “just took it to us.”

“There was a momentum swing in Georgia’s favor, and we were able to hang in and get a victory,” Mitchell said.

TIP-INS

Kentucky: The Wildcats improved to 3-3 against ranked opponents this season. … Five of the last seven meetings between the two teams have been decided by five points or fewer.

Georgia: This was the second of three straight games against top-10 foes for the Bulldogs. Georgia lost to No. 6 Tennessee 59-51 last Sunday in Knoxville. … Landers was whistled for a technical foul at the 16:54 mark of the first half.

UP NEXT

Kentucky is at Vanderbilt on Sunday.

Georgia hosts No. 1 South Carolina on Thursday.


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