After beginning its season with 10 straight road games, Howard University's women's basketball team opened its home schedule last night with a disheartening 72-69 loss to 12th-ranked Georgia at Burr Gymnasium.

For the game's first 38 minutes, the Bison (5-6) shot lethargically (34.2 percent from the field in the first half; 36.5 percent for the game) and fell culprit to Georgia's strong inside game.

However, during the final two minutes, Howard looked strong.

With her team trailing, 71-62, with 1:49 remaining in the game, Howard sophomore Tamara Abernathy came off the bench and scored off an offensive rebound.

After a miss by the Bulldogs (5-3), Artine Hector made just one of two free throws, but Georgia's Tammye Jenkins (12 points, five rebounds, all in the second half) was called for traveling while trying to gain possession of the rebound.

With 59 seconds left, senior guard Vannessa Graham (game-high 24 points) made the score 71-67 with a 12-foot, double-pump jumper.

Georgia point guard Adrienne Shuler then was fouled. A lane violation by Jill Mitchell as Shuler was attempting the front end of a one-and-one gave Howard another chance.

Georgia pressured the inbound pass, but the Bison got the ball across midcourt and, with 20 seconds left, Graham swished a six-foot jumper, making it 71-69.

Howard again fouled Shuler, this time as she was attempting a shot. Her first free throw clanged off the front of the rim. Then, with Bison fans yelling and trying to distract her, the freshman nailed the second shot to put Georgia ahead, 72-69.

Needing a three-point field goal to force overtime, the Bison couldn't get the ball to Graham, who had helped to keep Howard in the game with two three-pointers earlier in the second half.

"I think that we played well, but we just didn't hit the clutch shot in the end," said Bison Coach Sanya Tyler, whose team got 17 points and a game-high 13 rebounds from senior forward Darlene Beale.

Prince George's 60, Allegany 54:

Guards Tammy Delatos (17 points) and Brigette Green (16) led the Owls (3-1) over the visiting Trojans (0-3).