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Armstrong leads No. 19 Georgia past Florida

ATHENS -- The inside-outside combination of Wesleyan grad Anne Marie Armstrong and Khaalidah Miller scored 19 points apiece to lead No. 19 Georgia to a 61-55 win over Southeastern Conference rival Florida on Thursday night.

Georgia (14-3, 3-1 SEC) led the last 36 minutes of the game, by as many as 15 points, but had to weather a rally to hold off Florida (11-6, 1-3 SEC).

Jennifer George led Florida with 15 points and eight rebounds. Deana Allen added 14 points.

Both teams were careless with the basketball. Florida scored 25 points off of 24 Georgia turnovers, and Georgia tallied 22 points off of 23 Florida turnovers.

Armstrong had a double-double of an ignominious variety as she turned the ball over 10 times. She also led the team in rebounds with six and in steals with three.

"There are positives and negatives," said Armstrong. "A lot of times I drove and did not know what I was doing with the basketball. I was picking up my dribble and making stupid mistakes. I need to work on making smarter choices than tonight."

Miller escaped the turnover bug. She had none.

"We did not crack under pressure," she said. "But we were trying to do two things at once or moving too fast."

Coach Andy Landers said that Georgia's carelessness with the basketball allowed the Gators to get back into the game.

"We played hard, aggressive basketball," he said. "It was a hard-fought game. It was competitive. It was not easy. When we set things up in the half court, we were very, very good.

"The only thing I did not like was the carelessness," he said. "Not only were some of them turnovers, but they were turnovers slash assists, because they ran them in and scored on them."

The Gators rallied in the second half. After Armstrong's sweeping scoop layup gave Georgia a 38-24 lead with 14:12 remaining. Florida went on a 13-2 run to close to within 40-37 with 9:26 to go on Jennifer George's 3-point play.

Georgia pushed the lead back to 10 at 49-39 on two free throws by Armstrong with 4:53 to play.

Florida got as close as 53-49 when Jaterra Bonds hit two free throws with 2:37 remaining, but the Gators never got closer.

Both teams were cold at the start of the first half. Georgia held a narrow 9-8 lead nine minutes in, but Miller hit a 3-pointer and made three free throws for the Bulldogs to ignite a 12-4 Georgia run that made it 21-12 with 4:08 to go.

Armstrong intercepted a pass at midcourt and raced to lay it in just before the halftime horn to give Georgia a 29-16 lead, its biggest lead of the half. Armstrong had 13 of her points in the first half.