AUBURN, Ala. — Jasmine James delivered on Georgia’s second chance.
James scored on a putback with 2.9 seconds left, then made the subsequent free throw to lift Georgia to a 61-59 victory against Florida State on Tuesday night and into the round of 16 of the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year.
The 5-foot-9 James caught the ball in midair after a missed jumper by Porsha Phillips, tossed it in and drew a foul. Defender Cierra Bravard appeared to stop just before Phillips’ shot, and she and teammate Alexa Deluzio both said they thought they heard a whistle.
A statement from the officiating crew said “there was no inadvertent whistle” and the only thing reviewed during a stoppage of play was time left on the clock. They added 0.8 seconds.
The chance came after Georgia’s Meredith Mitchell forced a jump ball following another miss.
Florida State (24-8) didn’t get another shot off as Christian Hunnicutt’s pass to Courtney Ward at midcourt went out of bounds as time expired.
The Seminoles didn’t have a field goal over the final 10 minutes.
Georgia (24-8), which had lost four of its last five regular-season games, plays Texas A&M on Sunday night in the regional semifinals in Dallas. It’s the 19th time the Lady Bulldogs have made it this far.
Anne Marie Armstrong scored 15 points and James had 14 for the Lady Bulldogs, who trailed by 10 points midway through the second half.
Khaalidah Miller scored 11 points and Mitchell had 10. Miller and Armstrong both hit three 3-pointers.
Cierra Bravard led the Seminoles with 19 points and 10 rebounds but couldn’t deliver them to the regional finals, where last season ended. Courtney Ward scored 12 points, all on second-half 3-pointers, and tied her own team postseason record with nine assists.
Alexa Deluzio added 11 points.
Florida State took a 59-58 lead when Deluzio hit the second of two free throws with 35 seconds left. Georgia coach Andy Landers had called timeout after her first attempt rimmed out.
Then, Phillips missed a jumper and Bravard grabbed the rebound but Mitchell forced the jump ball, allowing the Lady Bulldogs another shot – or two.
Florida State had raced to a 51-41 lead when Ward hit her fourth 3-pointer of the half after going scoreless in the first.
The Lady Bulldogs surged back with a 14-2 run keyed by a James 3-pointer and three jumpers by Mitchell. The Seminoles only managed 10 more points, all at the free-throw line.
They shot 30 percent in the second half and were 13 of 23 from the free-throw line in the game. Florida State also committed 19 turnovers.