Special to the News
GREENVILLE, S.C. | The late season surge for the University of Alabama women’s basketball team came to an abrupt end in the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday as the Crimson Tide lost its first game, a second-round contest against Georgia, falling 68-61.
The loss ended a four-game winning streak for Alabama and may have put a serious dent in the Crimson Tide’s hopes for its first NCAA Women’s Tournament bid since 1999. UA will learn officially on Sunday whether it made the field.
Junior forward Jenna Stati had a dominating second half to lead the Bulldogs, scoring 14 of her game-high 20 points in the final two quarters. Stati also had 14 rebounds and seven blocked shots for Georgia, now 17-13 on the season.
Alabama led in the early going but began to fade just before the end of the second quarter. An apparent game-tying 3-pointer by Alabama’s Jasmine Walker was waved off as the half ended as official replay showed the ball was not released before the half ended. That left Georgia with a 33-30 halftime lead.
The Crimson Tide never found an offensive rhythm in the second half. UA committed 19 turnovers and shot just 38 percent from the field for the game.
Jordan Lewis led Alabama (18-12) with 15 points while Brittany Davis added 14.
Georgia, which has beaten Alabama in eight consecutive SEC Tournament meetings, will advance to the tournament quarterfinals to face No. 1 South Carolina on Friday. Alabama will return home to find out whether its season will continue in the NCAA Tournament or the Women’s NIT.
The Associated Press contributed to this report