Battles and Lewis duo sends Georgia to quarterfinals
Greenville, S.C. -- No. 5 seed Georgia (21-10, 9-7 SEC) defeated No. 10 seed Auburn, 63-45, in the second round of the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament on Thursday at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.
Diamond Battles led the Bulldogs with 18 points and shot 3-of-4 from three. Javyn Nicholson added nine points with seven boards.
Aicha Coulibaly and Sydney Shaw led the charge for the Tigers. Coulibaly fell one rebound shy of a double-double (13 points, nine rebounds) and Shaw tacked on 12 points.
Both teams got off to a slow start as the first points didn't come until the eight-minute mark of the first quarter as Coulibaly hit a pull-up midrange jumper. Brittney Smith earned UGA's first points three minutes later.
Toward the end of the period, both teams started to get settled in as the Bulldogs took a slight lead heading to the second, 12-10.
Battles got the ball rolling for the Bulldogs as she opened the quarter with a layup and later drained two back-to-back triples, forcing the Tigers to call a timeout, 22-14. Alisha Lewis assisted 14 of Georgia's 26 points in the second, setting a career-high nine assists just in the first half.
Turnovers were an issue for both teams as 16 were committed in the first half. Georgia went into the break with a 38-25 advantage.
After being outscored 16-2 in the paint by the Bulldogs in the first half, Auburn opened the second half with two of its three field goals coming from the paint. The Tigers tightened up their defense in the third, holding Georgia to nine points.
Three points from Auburn to start the final quarter was answered by five Georgia points as the Lady Bulldogs continued to lead. The final dagger came from Lewis as she knocked down the three in the 40 seconds to put UGA up by 16.
Georgia moved to 14-0 this season when leading by double digits after three quarters.
Lewis dished out 12 assists to match the Georgia single-game record in an SEC Tournament game, which was originally set by Teresa Edwards in 1984 against Auburn.
Georgia will face 2-seed LSU in the quarterfinals of the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament on Friday at 6:00 p.m. ET. The game will be aired on SEC Network.
Auburn (15-14, 5-11 SEC) is eliminated from the tournament.