Georgia Hosts the Lady Vols on Sunday
Jan. 4, 2014
Both No. 19 Georgia and No. 5 Tennessee take the floor at Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday afternoon looking to bounce back from losses in their Southeastern Conference openers on Thursday evening. The Lady Bulldogs and Lady Volunteers will face off at 4:00 p.m. in a SportSouth regionally televised match-up also available on espn3.com.
Georgia led Vanderbilt by seven points midway through the second half before the Commodores surged to a 66-58 victory at Memorial Gym. No. 16 LSU withstood a furious Tennessee rally en route to an 80-77 win at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.
Georgia is 12-2 on the season, racing to an 11-0 record that equaled the seventh-best start in program history and also represented the 20th overall winning streak of 10-plus games in UGA annals. The Lady Bulldogs' lone non-conference setback was a 61-58 decision at Rutgers on Dec. 21.
Individually, Tiaria Griffin leads a quartet of guards who sport double-digit scoring averages for the Lady Bulldogs at 13.4 ppg followed by Shacobia Barbee (11.8 ppg), Khaalidah Miller (11.7 ppg) and Erika Ford (10.5 ppg). Barbee is Georgia's top rebounder at 8.5 rpg.
Tennessee is 11-2 on the season. The Lady Volunteers' only non-conference loss was a 76-70 decision at No. 6 Stanford.
Tennessee also features a foursome of double-figure scorers. Meighan Simmons paces the Lady Vols on the offensive end at 13.9 ppg, with Isabelle Harrison (13.5 ppg), Ariel Massengale (12.2 ppg) and Bashaara Graves (11.5 ppg) also chipping in double-digit averages. Graves is Tennessee's top rebounder at 9.2 rpg.
Keeping an eye on...entering today's game:
Quoting Coach Landers...On the rivalry with Tennessee...
"It has been a good one. It generally has featured two teams that have been ranked, often times both teams have been in the top 10. It seems like every time we've played there's been some added significance to the game and I suppose this one is no different in that we've both have managed to lose our first SEC game."
On Tennessee's personnel...
On the benefit of a home court advantage...
Series History against Tennessee
Tennessee sports a 44-15 lead in the overall series with Georgia, including an 12-8 edge at Stegeman Coliseum.
The Lady Volunteers and Texas A&M (2-0) are the only SEC teams with a winning record over Georgia. On the flip side, the Lady Bulldogs' 15 victories over the Lady Vols represents the second-most by any program...tying Maryville College and trailing only Louisiana Tech's 17.
Last season in Knoxville, No. 12 Tennessee utilized three separate 9-0 runs in the second half to erase a halftime deficit and defeat No. 10 Georgia, 79-66.
Jasmine James equaled her season high with 18 points and climbed to No. 20 among UGA's career scoring leaders in the process.
Georgia led for the majority of the first half and owned a 42-40 advantage at intermission.
Tennessee scored the first nine points of the second stanza as the Lady Bulldogs missed their first eight shots from the floor. James scored eight straight Georgia points to close the gap to 52-50 at the 12:37 mark, but Kamiko Williams' short jumper opened a 12-3 surge that put Tennessee up 66-53 just 3:44 later.
The Lady Bulldogs owned a +2 rebound margin at halftime; however, Georgia was outboarded 28-9 in the second stanza.
In the most recent match-up in Athens two seasons ago, No. 7 Tennessee outscored No. 17 Georgia 11-0 to open the second half en route to a 67-50 win.
After trailing 27-20 with 3:38 remaining in the first half, the Lady Bulldogs closed the period on an 8-2 spurt to pull within one at the intermission.
Tennessee's surge to start the second stanza put the Lady Vols up 40-28 and covered 4:19. A pair of free throws by Meredith Mitchell and a layup by Jasmine Hassell pulled Georgia within eight, 40-32, just a minute later, but Tennessee responded with a 5-0 run.
Last Time out...
Jasmine Lister scored 24 points to lead Vanderbilt to a 66-58 upset over No. 19 Georgia in both team's SEC opener at Memorial Gymnasium on Thursday night.
Georgia led 44-37 following a Donald layup with 11:35 remaining before the Commodores used a 16-5 run to gain control. Lister scored half of her points during the surge.
"Honestly, I didn't think we ever really looked that good," Andy Landers said. "The scoreboard looked good when we were up seven, but we turned the ball over 24 times. We started it off turning it over and we were turning it over during the last five minutes. You really don't have to go any further than that. You're playing on the road against a quality basketball team."
The first half was back and forth, with four ties and five lead changes. Back-to-back layups by Miller followed by another layin in transition by Shacobia Barbee put the Lady Bulldogs up 20-17 with 5:26 left in the half.
After Vanderbilt regained a 21-20 edge, Tiaria Griffin nailed a 3-pointer and then scored on a driving layup to give Georgia its largest lead of the opening half at 25-21.
Vanderbilt led 33-29 with 16:54 left when the Lady Bulldogs gained momentum with a 15-4 run that forced a Commodore timeout. A Foggie jumper when play resumed ignited the decisive spurt.
UGA vs. UT again a ranked affair
Today's game will be the 60th between the Lady Bulldogs and the Lady Volunteers and will mark the 50th time that both teams entered the contest ranked in the Associated Press poll.
That should come as no surprise considering Tennessee and Georgia are 1-2, respectively, in weeks ranked by the AP. The Lady Vols have been included in 661 weekly polls, while the Lady Bulldogs have been featured 508 times.
With Tennessee currently at No. 5, either UGA or UT was ranked in the top-10 for 57 of the 60 match-ups, including 18 times when both were featured in the top 10.
A high stakes rivalry
It would be difficult to find two conference rivals in basketball - if not in any sport - who have met for as many significant stakes as the Lady Bulldogs and the Lady Volunteers.
Georgia and Tennessee have squared off in virtually everything fathomable, including:
Lady Bulldogs Giving The Ball Away
After averaging 15.0 turnovers in its first 11 games, Georgia has committed 70 TOs in its last three contests.
The Lady Bulldogs possessed a healthy +141 (12.8 ppg) edge on their opponents in points off TOs through 11 outings. Since then, Rutgers, Illinois and Vanderbilt have outpaced Georgia 71-41 in points from giveaways.
"The cause, I think, has just been a lack of discipline," Andy Landers said. "We've turned it over excessively. They haven't been forced turnovers. It has been, at times, decision making and at other times it has just been poor execution of fundamental passing and catching."
Being a little too generous Games Tos Ast-To-TOs TO Margin First 11 15.0 1.1 +5.2 Last 3 23.3 0.7 -6.3
All SEC From here on out
Georgia will wrap up its 2013-14 regular season with 16 straight Southeastern Conference dates.
Georgia begins SEC play with a challenging stretch of five games against teams that were a combined 55-9 when the calendar rolled over to 2014. After the Lady Bulldogs met 11-2 Vanderbilt in the SEC opener, Georgia hosts Tennessee (10-1), travels to Missouri (11-2) and entertains Texas A&M (9-4) and Arkansas (13-0).
Crossing state lines
Barbee and Butler combined to secure three Miss Tennessee Basketball trophies during their prep careers.
Barbee was the Class AAA honoree as both a junior in 2011 and a senior at Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro.
Butler, a Knoxville native who starred at The Webb School, was Miss Tennessee for Division II-Class A as a junior but missed the vast majority of her senior year due to a knee injury.
Carter helped lead Buford High School to a trio of Georgia AA state titles and was the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Player of the Year in 2011.
In addition, Georgia coach Andy Landers is a native of Maryville, just south of Knoxville.
Miller tops millennium, moves up more
Khaalidah Miller became Lady Bulldog Basketball's 35th 1,000-point scorer during the Nov. 19 victory over Furman.
The Atlanta native has since moved up to No. 28 among Georgia's career scoring leaders.
Miller used a 20-point performance against Georgia Tech to pass Anne Marie Armstrong at No. 34, supplanted 1996 National Player of the Year Saudia Roundtree at No. 33 during the George Washington game, inched ahead of Megan Darrah to No. 32 versus Kennesaw State and bested Kara Braxton career mark during the Rutgers game.
Miller's ascension went into overdrive at Vanderbilt when she moved from No. 31 to No. 28 in one night. With 16 points against the Commodores, Miller passed No. 30 Pam Irwin-Osbolt, No. 29 Carla Green and No. 28 Cynthia Collins. FYI, Green is now Dr. Carla Williams and an Executive Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator for the UGA Athletic Association and the envy of every former Lady Bulldog...as Andy Landers' boss.
Now up to 508 weeks ranked
Since 1981-82, the Lady Bulldogs have been included in 508 of 584 weekly Associated Press polls, or 87.0 percent of those released.
Of those weeks, Georgia was featured in the top-10 of 268 polls, 45.9 percent of the rankings released during that span.
Lady Bulldogs hit "Magic Number"
Georgia has reached the 80-point plateau five times this season and, in the process, improved perhaps the greatest statistical indicator other than wins and losses.
The Lady Bulldogs are now 430-6 when scoring 80 or more points during Andy Landers' 35 seasons in Athens. That equates to a winning percentage of 98.623853211009.
Georgia scored 80-plus points in three consecutive outings against Belmont, Kennesaw State and Lipscomb, the first time UGA has done so since the first three games of 2007-08 - 81-53 vs. Richmond, 84-56 vs. George Mason and 105-66 vs. Georgia Southern.
Offensive efficiency up of late
Georgia's scoring and shooting percentages have climbed dramatically in the six games since the Finals Exam break.
The Lady Bulldogs averaged 66.1 points by shooting 40.3 percent from the field in their initial quintet of outings.
The past half-dozen contests, Georgia has averaged 75.2 points per game while connecting on 48.1 percent of its field goals.
Hanging their hat on defense
In the latest NCAA statistics through games of Jan. 2, the Lady Bulldogs rank fourth nationally in scoring defense, surrendering just 51.3 points per game, and 12th in opponent FG percentage, limiting their foes to 33.2 percent.
UGA Equals Seventh-best start
The Lady Bulldogs' 11-0 start represented the 20th double-digit overall winning streak in the program's history and also equaled the 2001-02 team for the seventh-best start in the program's history as outlined below.
Freshman Starter sorority grows
Andy Landers has continued his long-standing penchant of putting freshmen in Georgia's starting five.
Sydnei McCaskill got the nod against Presbyterian in the season opener to become the 73rd freshman to start for the Lady Bulldogs during Landers' 35 seasons in Athens and the 23rd to do so in her collegiate debut.
McCaskill not only started but played all 40 minutes versus the Blue Hose. She and Coco Miller are the only two freshmen in Lady Bulldog history to start their debut and play the entire game.
Halle Washington became No. 74 on Georgia's freshman starter ledger five games later against S.C. State.
Now eight current Lady Bulldogs - senior Khaalidah Miller; juniors Erika Ford and Krista Donald; sophomores Shacobia Barbee, Tiaria Griffin and Merritt Hempe; and McCaskill and Washington - all started as freshmen.
Barbee is one of the 23 freshmen to start their collegiate opener.
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