No. 23 Georgia downs Alabama 71-62

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Christy Marshall and Ashley Houts each scored 15 points, and No. 23 Georgia survived a surprisingly tough first-round game at the Southeastern Conference women's tournament Thursday night by beating Alabama 71-62.

Fifth-seeded Georgia (22-8) won for the fifth time in six games and reached the quarterfinals for a 10th straight year. The Lady Bulldogs will play No. 4 seed Kentucky on Friday night, a team that won 47-44 in Georgia on Jan. 31.

'I just tried to, at halftime and each of the timeouts there early in the second half, to get our kids juiced up a little bit, to get them to play a little harder, a little bit more determined,' Georgia coach Andy Landers said.

The No. 12 seed Crimson Tide (8-22) came in having lost 13 straight games in SEC play with a roster featuring 10 underclassmen and starting two freshmen and two sophomores. But Alabama made it tough on the Lady Bulldogs for at least the first 25 minutes, with three ties and eight lead changes before finishing the season with a 14th loss.

Alabama coach Stephany Smith said her team finally started growing up. She also took the two name tags for her players from the post-game news conference as souvenirs.

'We wanted to be the spoiler, and that opportunity slipped through our hands. But I am proud of how hard we fought,' she said.

Alabama outshot Georgia and managed a tie at 32 in rebounds. But the Tide turned it over 19 times, which Georgia turned into 18 points.