2001-02 Year In Review

The roller-coaster ride Georgia's Lady Bulldogs encountered during 2001-02 came to a somewhat fitting halt when Georgia fell to Old Dominion, 68-54, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament's Mideast Regional in West Lafayette, Ind. In many ways, that contest was a Reader's Digest abridged version of the last four months, with the Lady Bulldogs openly displaying many of their attributes and shortcomings during their final 40 minutes of the season. On the plus side, Georgia looked like anything but a team with seven freshmen while racing to a 19-10 lead over the No. 15-ranked Lady Monarchs. In the negative column, many of the demons which hindered the Lady Dogs throughout the campaign led to their eventual downfall. Georgia committed 25 turnovers, and after leading 45-41 at the 13:48 mark, the Lady Bulldogs scored just nine points the rest of the way. "It was a game that identified our basketball team accurately," Andy Landers. "On occasion, we have been able to win some games playing like that. On occasion, we have been able to play a little bit better. But that is the way that we have played. You don't want it to be that way, but now that the game is over, you're not surprised. That is who we are."

Youngsters led the way
The youthful Lady Bulldogs, with seven freshmen on their 13-player roster, were led by those younger standouts. Freshman Kara Braxton, who led Georgia in scoring (16.3), rebounding (6.8), steals (1.8) and blocks (2.0), only headlined what were significant contributions by several underclassmen. Three of the top-four scorers and rebounders were freshmen or sophomores.

Younger players contributed in every statistic. All told, freshmen and sophomores compiled just over 70 percent of UGA's blocked shots, nearly 70 percent of its points and rebounds, more than 60 percent of its steals and minutes played and over 50 percent of the team's assists. A breakdown of the contributions of the freshmen and sophomores follows.

Young Gun Stat Breakout

Stat Team Fr./So. Pct.
Points 2068 1430 69.1
Rebounds 1118* 777 69.5
Assists 498 268 53.8
Blocks 188 135 71.8
Steals 294 185 62.9
Minutes 6050 3732 61.9

* individual totals...team boards were subtracted.

Seniors complete stellar careers
The aforementioned newcomers did benefit from having seniors Tawana McDonald and Camille Murphy show them the ropes. "T-Mac" and "'Mille" helped Georgia to the 1999 Final Four, the 2000 SEC Championship and the 2001 SEC Tournament Title. McDonald finished as the Lady Dogs' all-time leader in blocks, swatting 297. She also ranks No. 16 in scoring (1,225) and No. 5 in rebounds (885). Murphy, who played primarily at shooting guard her first three seasons at UGA before running the point this year, ranks No. 8 in career three-pointers (81).

A big-time block party
The Lady Bulldogs, who posted four the top-seven single-game blocked shot tallies in school history during the first six games of the 2001-02 campaign, also bettered their single-season record with 188 swats. Kara Braxton tied the freshman record with 59 blocks, while Tawana McDonald and Christi Thomas added 48 and 45, respectively. All three ranked among national leaders most of the season.

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