Tuesday, March 23, 1999

GEORGIA 89, IOWA STATE 71


Smothering defense ends Iowa State fairy tale

BY JOHN ERARDI
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cinderella didn't have to worry about turning into a pumpkin at midnight. The dance had barely started when Georgia kneed Cinderella in the gut, ripped off her glass slippers and hailed her a cab.

        Georgia's smothering defense and 33 points from Kelly Miller burst Iowa State's fairy-tale season, 89-71, before 6,174 fans Monday night at UC's Shoemaker Center.

        The Bulldogs grabbed the Mideast Regional of the Women's NCAA Tournament by the throat. Awaiting them in San Jose, Calif., at the Final Four will be Duke, which upset three-time national defending champion Tennessee 69-63 on Monday.

        “It feels great!” UG's Pam Irwin-Osbolt exclaimed. “When I was a freshman, we were ranked No.1 and expected to get there. But this team wasn't expected to get there.”

        Well, not expected to get there until this game was 12 minutes old.

        Up only 7-6 at 15:45, Georgia went on a 24-4 run over the next eight minutes to go up 31-10 to end ISU's fairy-tale season whose high point was its upset Saturday of top-seeded Connecticut.

        The secret for Georgia?

        An in-your-face, man-to-man defense that didn't allow ISU to breathe.

        “Iowa State is a great offensive team — tremendous three-point shooting and 60 percent (from the field) in the post,” said UG coach Andy Landers. “But 30 seconds into the game, (Georgia's players) could see the defense was working and they got excited. They turned up the temperature.”

        ISU hit only 6-of-24 field goals in the first half and shot only 35 percent for the game.

        “We hadn't faced anything as intense and physical as that this season,” ISU point guard Stacy Frese said.

        Miller scored 18 of her team's 31 points, going 6-of-6 from the field, including 4-of-4 on three-pointers, in the first 12 minutes.

        “When she starts off like that, you just get her the ball,” Irwin said.

        Miller's identical sister, Coco, is also a Georgia starter.

        Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said he could devise nothing to stop her.

        “Like any good player, once she got off to a good start, she was hard to stop,” Fennelly said. “She hit a couple with a hand in her face, and she hit a couple when she was open.

        “She's an All-American, and she and her sister both are great athletes. We wanted to hold them to a combined 30. They scored 49, we lost by 18. That was the difference.”

        Oh, and in case you were thinking of a miracle comeback in the second half, Iowa State? Kelly hit her fifth trey two minutes into the second half to put Georgia up 45-20 and a sixth trey at 12:50 to go up, 53-35.

        And, in case you think Kelly's a mad bomber, how about her 10 assists? One other thing: she plays defense, too.

        Of course, at Georgia, that's like saying she likes peaches.

        Iowa State's Cyclones could not get their high-powered three-point shooting game that shocked UConn.

        Why? Because the Bulldogs pushed ISU farther from the basket and dared it to go inside.

        “They (Georgia's big players) are really physical,” ISU's Angie Welle said. “Tawana McDonald (6-foot-4) blocked some shots. Early on, I think I was intimidated a little bit and our guards were probably hesitant to drive in there, too.”

        Iowa State made it mildly interesting when Angie Welle hit a three-pointer with three minutes left in the game to cut the deficit to 76-66, but it got no closer.

        IOWA STATE (25-8) — Huelman 0-2 0-0 0, Taylor 2-12 0-0 4, Welle 2-7 5-8 10, Frese 5-19 5-6 17, Gahan 4-8 5-7 13, Haugen 2-6 2-2 8, Francis 8-10 2-4 19, Cizek 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-65 19-27 71.

        GEORGIA (27-6) — K.Miller 11-15 5-7 33, Ball 4-8 3-4 11, McDonald 1-5 1-6 3, Irwin-Osbolt 5-11 3-4 15, C.Miller 7-13 2-3 16, Vishniakova 0-1 0-0 0, Brown 1-1 2-2 4, Nolan 2-4 0-0 4, Murphy 1-2 0-0 3, Willis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 32-61 16-26 89.

        Halftime—Georgia 37, Iowa St 22. 3-point goals—Iowa St 6-23 (Frese 2-10, Haugen 2-4, Francis 1-1, Welle 1-2, Huelman 0-1, Taylor 0-5), Georgia 9-19 (K.Miller 6-8, Irwin-Osbolt 2-6, Murphy 1-2, C.Miller 0-2, Nolan 0-1). Fouled out—Gahan. Rebounds—Iowa St 49 (Gahan 14), Georgia 29 (K.Miller, Ball, McDonald 4). Assists—Iowa St 9 (Frese), Georgia 19 (K.Miller 10). A—6,174.

       



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