<
>

Clutch free throws secure Georgia win over Stanford

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- A rare dip below .500 has Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer feeling impatient.

A 5-0 start has Georgia coach Andy Landers wondering how good his No. 8 team might be when his best player makes her season debut in another week.

Georgia held off No. 11 Stanford 74-69 on Sunday, with Cori Chambers scoring 21 points and Ashley Houts making four free throws in the final 30 seconds.

Stanford (2-3) lost both games of its weekend road trip to the Southeastern Conference, falling to No. 4 Tennessee 77-60 on Friday. The Cardinal are below .500 this far into a season for the first time since the 1999-00 team also started 2-3 before finishing 21-9 with an NCAA tournament second-round loss to Georgia.

After watching her team make only three of 12 free throws, VanDerveer bristled at the suggestion that her team was still finding itself early in the season.

"I'm tired of hearing that it's early in the season," VanDerveer said. "I feel like we should be playing better at this point."

VanDerveer showed off her team's depth, rotating 11 players, but said her top players had too little help. Candice Wiggins scored a game-high 24 points and added eight rebounds, Brooke Smith had 19 points and Jayne Appel had 16 points and nine rebounds, but only two other Stanford players scored.

"Quite honestly I think we just need some other players making plays for us," VanDerveer said.

Megan Darrah scored 15 points for Georgia, which led by 14 points midway through the second half before Stanford cut it to 68-67.

Stanford's Jillian Harmon and J.J. Hones each missed free throws that could have tied it before Houts, a freshman, sank two free throws with 30 seconds left for a 70-67 lead.

Harmon scored with 18 seconds left to again cut the lead to one. Houts added two free throws with 17 seconds left.

Wiggins missed a 3-pointer with about 5 seconds left, and Janese Hardrick padded the lead with two free throws. Hardrick scored 14 points.

Georgia used only seven players as star forward Tasha Humphrey continues to serve a six-game suspension for being charged with underage possession of alcohol.

Landers said his team has not waited for the return of Humphrey, who led Georgia with 20.1 points and 9.1 rebounds as a sophomore last season.

"We already have something going," Landers said. "We're not bad. ... If nothing happens by mid-January, we're going to be pretty good."

Despite playing without Humphrey, Georgia already has two wins over ranked teams, including a 78-69 win over then-No. 11 Rutgers on Nov. 12.

Darrah, who scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half, said the absence of Humphrey has forced other players to take lead roles.

"Our goal going into the season was to really play at a high level and we could fill the void," Darrah said. "It will just make us that much better when we're with her."

Confirmed Landers: "Everyone had a chance to make plays today, and they did. They are all important to the team, but we've still got to get better."

Georgia had a scare with 6:20 left when 6-foot-5 center Angel Robinson, who missed last season with a knee injury, appeared to hurt the same knee. Instead, Landers said Robinson, who did not return, suffered an ankle injury that is not believed to be serious.

Georgia was left with six players for the final six minutes. Chambers said fatigue wasn't a factor despite Georgia's lack of depth.

"I don't think people were tired," Chambers said. "When the game is on the line, you want to be in the game."

Added Chambers, looking ahead to Humphrey's return next for next Sunday's game at Georgia Tech: "I'm excited to see what we will do when everyone is full tilt."

Georgia starting center Rebecca Rowsey matched her career high with 12 rebounds.