Dec. 27, 2001
ATLANTA – Kara Braxton was barely aware of Georgia’s perfect record against Georgia Tech.
Braxton had 22 points and 11 rebounds as the No. 10 Bulldogs beat the Yellow Jackets for the 24th straight time, rallying for a 69-52 victory Thursday in the ACC/SEC Shootout.
“As a freshman, playing them for the first time, I didn’t really think about it that much,” Braxton said of the streak, which dates to 1975. “It’s not something we focused on.”
Georgia Tech coach Agnus Berenato certainly did.
“I know somebody’s going to ask the question, ‘When is Georgia Tech going to beat Georgia?’ What I can tell you is that we’re getting closer,” Berenato said.
Georgia (9-0) trailed once in the first half and fell behind by five early in the second half before rallying. Georgia Tech (6-4) didn’t score for the next five minutes, and the Bulldogs took control with 10 points in that span.
Niesha Butler, suspended for the first eight games for violating a team academic rule, scored 14 of her 15 points in the first half for Georgia Tech. Nina Barlin added 10.
Butler was eligible by NCAA standards but was suspended by Berenato.
Barlin scored five straight to get the Yellow Jackets to 48-45 with 5:58 left, but they couldn’t overcome another dry spell. An 11-2 run gave Georgia a 12-point lead and effectively ended the game.
“We could have gone up 20,” Bulldogs coach Andy Landers said. “We just didn’t finish well in transition.”
No. 2 Tennessee beat No. 9 Duke 89-68 in the opener of the shootout, held in conjunction with Monday’s Peach Bowl.
In her second game back from suspension, Butler dominated the first half. She hit 7-of-12 shots and grabbed six rebounds, leading Georgia Tech to a 29-29 tie at the break.
The second half was a different story. Butler missed all 10 of her shots, and added only a free throw to her total. The Yellow Jackets shot 19 percent in after halftime and missed all 11 of their 3-pointers in the game.
“In the first half, Neisha was on and I think the rest of us backed off and watched her,” Barlin said. “In the second half, when her shots stopped going in, somebody needed to step up and we didn’t.”
Georgia outscored Georgia Tech 31-14 at the line.
“We gave up 38 points to Georgia from the field,” Berenato said. “I guess we’re just a physical, mean old team. I guess we need to work on being more disciplined on defense and not fouling so much.”
The teams met for the first time in 1975 and have played one game a year since 1983. The past three games have been held in Marietta, a northern suburb of Atlanta.
By KEITH PARSONS
AP Sports Writer