Georgia and Purdue Square Off On Scoring Spree
Both teams shot over 60 percent in the first halves of their first rounds
March 23, 2007
Georgia reached its most recent regional final three years ago by beating Purdue in the round of 16. For the Lady Bulldogs to make a return appearance, they will have to go through the Boilermakers again.
The two perennial powers meet for the first time since the 2004 NCAA tournament in Sunday's semifinals of the Dallas Regional.
Georgia (27-6) is the third seed and Purdue (30-5) is seeded second, the same seedings the teams had three years ago when they matched up for the first time. Janese Hardrick - then a freshman - scored 17 points to help lead the Lady Bulldogs to a 66-64 victory in the semifinals of the West Regional in Seattle.
They lost 62-60 to LSU in the round of eight and haven't been back since.
Purdue hasn't reached a regional final since 2003, but has won nine in a row en route to the third 30-win season in school history. The Boilermakers reached the national title game the two previous times they reached the 30-win mark, winning the title in 1999 and finishing second in 2001.
Both teams shot exceptionally well during Monday's second-round games to advance to this round.
Georgia shot 61.3 percent from the field in the first half and rolled to a 76-56 win over Iowa State to reach the round of 16 for the fifth straight season and 17th time in school history.
"Georgia's a great team," Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said. "I think we've got a great matchup. We just have to put a good game plan together."
Purdue shot 79.2 percent (19-for-24) in the first half and 57.1 percent for the game in a 76-63 win over Georgia Tech to advance to the regional semifinals for the fourth time in five years and 11th overall.
Georgia leading scorer Tasha Humphrey scored 21 points - five over her season average - and Cori Chambers had all 18 of her points in the first half when she made all seven shots, including four 3-pointers.
"My teammates just got me the ball," said Chambers, who will play in her school-record 135th game at Georgia on Sunday. "I had some good opportunities to shoot the ball when I was open. That made it great and easy to do."
Chambers, who averages 12.9 points, scored five points in 13 minutes off the bench against Purdue in 2004. Hardrick and Ashley Houts complete Georgia's three-guard lineup.
"I am excited to be back in the Sweet Sixteen," Chambers said. "I hope the Sweet Sixteen is not the end for us. We have worked too hard not to get past that."
Purdue's Katie Gearlds scored eight points as a freshman against Georgia three years ago. She has blossomed into a star, averaging a team-high 18.5 points after the All-Big Ten guard scored 26 points on 8-for-13 shooting against Georgia Tech.
"She expects that of herself, and her teammates expect that of her," Versyp said. "When she gets in a rhythm you've got to give her the ball."
Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton added 18 points and 10 rebounds on Monday for the Boilermakers.
"The thing that impresses me most about Purdue is their basketball sense," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "They seem to have a good sense for the game and how they want to play together."
The winner will play No. 1 seed North Carolina or fifth-seeded George Washington on Tuesday.