Lady Bulldogs Travel To Mizzou
Jan. 8, 2014
The No. 25-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs travel to Columbia, Mo., on Thursday evening looking to snap a two-game losing skid when they face Missouri at Mizzou Arena.
Georgia is currently 12-3 overall and 0-2 in SEC play. The Lady Bulldogs raced to an 11-0 start - equaling the seventh-best beginning in school history - before dropping three of its last four outings. Georgia lost 61-58 at Rutgers on Dec. 21 but bounced back to top Illinois 82-60 on Dec. 28. The Lady Bulldogs then fell to Vanderbilt in Nashville last Thursday before losing to Tennessee at home on Sunday.
A balanced Georgia offensive attack features four double-figure scorers - both overall and in SEC play.
In SEC action, Georgia's front court has been much more productive. Krista Donald is averaging a team-high 15.0 ppg, with Merritt Hempe (10.5 ppg), Khaalidah Miller (10.5 ppg) and Tiaria Griffin (10.0 ppg) also sporting double-figure averages.
Missouri also is 12-3 overall but 1-1 in the league. The Tigers won seven straight outings to christen their campaign before a loss at Miami. Mizzou opened SEC competition with a victory at Ole Miss before falling to Arkansas by three points last weekend.
Bri Kulas has lifted what was a productive non-conference slate (17.2 ppg) to a different level in the past week. She is averaging an eye-popping 22.0 ppg versus SEC foes. Morgan Eye is the Tigers' second-leading scorer at 12.2 ppg, but has upped those contributions to 17.5 ppg in two SEC dates.
Keeping an eye on...entering today's game:
Khaalidah Miller is...
Quoting Coach Landers...On the challenges of playing Missouri...
"Missouri is one of the unique teams in our conference, and it's important that we understand that before we go there. Their style of play is different. Their offensive philosophy is different. This is a basketball team that's already hit 18 3-pointers in one game, a basketball team that's going to put up 25-26 3s on an average night and they'd like to put up 30-35. They shoot it extremely well."
On bouncing back from an 0-2 start in SEC play...
"In conference, the season goes from the beginning of January to the beginning of March. It still does. That's a long time. We've only played two games so it's totally and absolutely changeable. There are a lot of games to be played. We need to learn from our mistakes, correct our mistakes, continue to improve and we can take care of our business and our aspirations can still be realized."
Series History against Mizzou
Georgia is 3-1 all-time against Missouri, including a 1-0 mark in Columbia.
Last Jan. 3 in Athens, No. 10 Georgia posted a decisive 77-46 victory over the Missouri Tigers in their first-ever SEC game.
"It's great to come out and get our first conference game behind us and for that to be a W, but even better, it's great to come out and play as well as the basketball team played tonight," Andy Landers said.
The Lady Bulldogs gained their first significant lead with an 11-2 run that doubled a nine-point edge to 33-15. Georgia outscored Missouri 12-6 in the waning moments of the first half to build a 45-23 advantage.
The Tigers cut Georgia's lead to 45-30 with a 7-0 surge to open the second half. The Lady Bulldogs then used a 9-2 run of their own to make it 54-32 and end any doubt.
Georgia's last trip to Columbia was nearly 30 years ago. The No. 3 Lady Bulldogs notched a 70-67 victory over No. 18 Missouri in the championship game of the Mid-America Classic on Dec. 15, 1984.
Janet Harris scored 18 points to lead Georgia, which also received double-digit contributions from Teresa Edwards (16), Traci Waites (12) and Lisa O'Connor (10). Renee Kelly paced the Tigers with a game-high 23 points.
Georgia rallied from a 37-32 halftime deficit, with Harris scoring eight points in a 12-2 run that put the Lady Bulldogs up 68-63.
Last Time out...
A 21-0 rally by No. 19 Georgia cut a 27-point deficit to just six points with 72 seconds left before No. 5 Tennessee made 9-of-10 free throws down the stretch to secure an 85-70 win over the Lady Bulldogs last Sunday.
Krista Donald led Georgia with a second-high 18 points in a career-best 38 minutes of playing time.
Tennessee used an 8-0 run midway through the first half to break open a 17-17 tie and gain some distance on the scoreboard.
Early in the second half, Ariel Massengale poured in 17 of her game-high 28 points during a 28-5 surge that put the Lady Volunteers up 67-39 with 11:45 remaining.
Georgia trailed 76-49 at the 7:39 mark but exploded on a 21-0 run that cut the gap to 76-70 with 1:12 on the clock.
Massengale made both ends of a one-and-one with 70 seconds left and Tennessee eventually made 9-of-10 free throws to secure the victory.
0-2 in SEC Play for First Time in a While
Georgia finds itself at 0-2 in Southeastern Conference action for the first time in more than two decades.
The Lady Bulldogs last lost their first two league outings to begin the 1992-93 season when they finished just 4-7 in SEC play.
Georgia entered the SEC Tournament with a 17-11 record before an improbable runner-up finish that included playing to No. 1-ranked teams in three days. The Lady Bulldogs defeated Arkansas, 84-73; top-ranked Tennessee, 73-72, in the quarterfinals; and Alabama,76-72, in the semis before falling to Vanderbilt, the nation's new No. 1 team in polls released that afternoon, 78-64.
Lady Bulldogs Giving The Ball Away
After averaging 15.0 turnovers in its first 11 games, Georgia has committed 87 TOs in its last four 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, Vanderbilt and Tennessee have outpaced Georgia 93-70 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
All SEC From here on out
Georgia will wrap up its 2013-14 regular season with 16 straight conference dates.
Georgia begins SEC play with a challenging stretch of six games against teams that were a combined 65-12 when the calendar rolled over to 2014. During that span, the Lady Bulldogs will face Vanderbilt (11-2), Tennessee (11-1), Missouri (11-2), Texas A&M (9-4), Arkansas (13-0) and Florida (10-3).
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's No. 31 career mark during the Rutgers game.
Miller's ascension went into overdrive at Vanderbilt when she moved from No. 31 to No. 28. 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 509 of 585 weekly Associated Press polls, or 87.0 percent of those released.
Of those weeks, Georgia was featured in the top-10 of 268 polls, 45.8 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 an almost unfathomable 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 significantly in the seven games since the Finals Exam break.
The Lady Bulldogs averaged 66.1 points by shooting 40.3 percent from the field in their initial octet of outings.
The past seven contests, Georgia has averaged 74.4 points per game while connecting on 46.8 percent of its field goals.
Hanging their hat on defense
In the latest NCAA statistics through games of Jan. 5, the Lady Bulldogs rank seventh nationally in scoring defense, surrendering just 53.7 points per game, and 17th in field goal percentage defense, limiting their foes to just 34.0 percent.
Freshman Starter sorority grows
Andy Landers has continued his long-standing penchant of starting freshmen.
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.
Barbee is one of the 23 freshmen to start their collegiate opener.
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