Georgia began the season by casting doubt on Texas as a championship team.
Then again, maybe Georgia was just establishing itself as one.
But little doubt will linger now about whether the Bulldogs are a legitimate contender, after sixth-seeded Georgia ousted third-seeded Texas, 70-68, in the second round of the NCAA tournament last night in Dallas.
Count Texas Coach Jody Conradt among the believers.
"Could this game have been a Final Four game?" Conradt said. "I think so."
It certainly played out like one. Georgia (24-9) led for the entire game, but was forced to hold off Texas (22-9) right down to the final buzzer, when Heather Schreiber's three-point attempt fell dead at the corner of the rim.
It was a much different ending than when Texas and Georgia met in November. Back then, the Longhorns were ranked No. 2 and were Final Four favorites, but the Bulldogs grounded Texas by rallying from a 15-point deficit before cruising to a 78-64 victory.
This time, Georgia's victory denied Texas a trip to the round of 16 for the first time in four years. It's the earliest tournament exit since a first-round elimination in 2001.
"I haven't been in too many locker rooms that were as depressed and despondent as this one," said Conradt, who was coaching her 51st NCAA tournament game.
MINNESOTA 73, VIRGINIA 58: Jamie Broback had 23 points and five rebounds in Minneapolis to help the third-seeded Gophers advance to the Tempe Region semifinals.
In her final home game, Janel McCarville went 3 for 7 from the floor and finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 4 fouls -- blowing a kiss and waving to the roaring Williams Arena crowd of 10,043 as she left.
But Broback, a sophomore who emerged as the Gophers' second-leading scorer, kept Minnesota's offense in step. Shannon Schonrock added 11 points and Shannon Bolden had 10 points for the Gophers (26-7), who play second-seeded Baylor in Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday night -- their third straight trip to the round of 16.
Freshman Sharnee Zoll led sixth-seeded Virginia with 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting, and LaTonya Blue added 16 points. The Cavaliers (21-11) were outrebounded, 41-30, and watched leading scorer Brandi Teamer struggle with two points on 1-for-9 shooting.
ARIZONA ST. 70, NOTRE DAME 61: Kylan Loney scored eight points in the final 1 minute 29 seconds and finished with 20 and the fifth-seeded Sun Devils erased an early 13-point deficit to shock the No. 4 seeded Fighting Irish in the Tempe Region in Fresno, Calif., winning a second-round game for the first time.
Aubree Johnson had 12 points and nine rebounds and reserve Amy Denson added 11 points and eight rebounds for the spirited Sun Devils (24-9).
The Fighting Irish (27-6), ranked 11th in the nation, were trying to advance past the second round for the third straight year.
BAYLOR 69, OREGON 46: The Lady Bears scored 18 straight points, holding the Ducks to just two points over the final eight minutes of the first half, and coasting in the second round in Seattle.
Baylor, the No. 2 seed in the Tempe Region, will face Minnesota in the region semifinals Saturday. It's Baylor's second straight regional trip.