December 19, 2011 in Sports

Haiden heroine for Zags

Palmer’s 3-pointer caps comeback that topples No. 13 Georgia
Associated Press
 

LAS VEGAS – Haiden Palmer’s 3-pointer with two-tenths of a second left gave Gonzaga a 71-68 victory over No. 13 Georgia in a Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic women’s basketball game Monday night.

The Bulldogs never led in the game until Palmer pulled up just behind the top of the key and made her 3-pointer to cap a 22-4 run that ended the game. Palmer had 13 of her career-high 22 points during the closing run.

“She’s had a great year,” Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said. “She’s been our most consistent player up to this point. In fact, (Palmer) was announced today as the WCC Player of the Week for her performance last week. So this wasn’t anything new but, boy, she did it on a big stage and I’m really proud of her; happy for her.”

The Lady Bulldogs built an eight-point halftime lead to 64-49 before Gonzaga went on its game-ending run.

“The problem tonight was just execution coming down the stretch,” said Georgia coach Andy Landers. “I thought we played weak and passive; just got careless the last six minutes of the basketball game and Gonzaga stepped up and took advantage of us. “

Gonzaga scored the first 10 points of the burst, which began with a Palmer jumper. She had eight of the run’s first 10 points and allowed Gonzaga to erode Georgia’s lead to single digits.

Taelor Karr’s 3-pointer with 30 seconds left made it 68-66 Georgia. The Zags tied the game moments later on a Palmer basket.

The Lady Bulldogs had a chance to take the lead with 9 seconds left, but Jasmine James missed both of her free-throw attempts and Gonzaga then grabbed a rebound that led to Palmer’s game-winning basket.

“Like I told them after the game, sometimes tough times reveal character, and that’s what happened today,” Graves said. “I thought we showed a lot of character. We could’ve quit, thinking it’s not our game. We had a couple players that didn’t play like they typically do, but they didn’t (give up). They were resilient, hung in there and defensively made some plays.”

Katelan Redmon led Gonzaga (9-2) with 23 points and 10 rebounds. She hit 10 of her 14 shot attempts.

Georgia (8-2) was led by Jasmine Hassell with 21 points while Anne Marie Armstrong had 15 and James scored 13 points.

“It was a game we played extremely well in for 33 minutes; I mean very well, we had the game where we wanted it,” Landers said. “We played a very good basketball game and then we started turning the basketball over, giving up layups, letting them get to the offensive boards. And we got passive offensively as they got aggressive and bam, you lose when you do that.”

Palmer had scored a then-career-high 21 points in GU’s 83-56 win over UC Riverside in its only game last week to earn the WCC award. She hit 9 of 13 shots, including 3 of 5 3-pointers, and added six rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and two steals.

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