Lady Bulldogs Host Aggies in Stegeman on Sunday
Jan. 11, 2014
The No. 25-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs will look to snap a rare three-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon when they host Texas A&M at Stegeman Coliseum. The 2:00 p.m. contest will be televised by SEC TV, with Cara Capuano and Nell Fortner handling play-by-play and color analyst duties, respectively.
Georgia is currently 12-4 overall and 0-3 in SEC play. The Lady Bulldogs raced to an 11-0 start - equaling the seventh-best beginning in school history - before dropping four of its last five outings. Georgia lost 61-58 at Rutgers on Dec. 21 but bounced back to top Illinois 82-60 on Dec. 28. In SEC play, the Lady Bulldogs lost at Vanderbilt, to Tennessee a week ago and at Missouri on Thursday, resulting in the first 0-3 SEC start in the program's history.
Tiaria Griffin, who got her second start of the season at Missouri, leads a trio of guards who sport double-digit scoring averages at 13.0 ppg, followed by Shacobia Barbee (11.6 ppg) and Khaalidah Miller (11.3 ppg). Barbee is Georgia's top rebounder at 8.1 rpg.
In SEC action, Krista Donald has paced the Lady Bulldogs on the offensive end and on the glass, averaging 13.7 ppg and 7.0 rpg. Miller is chipping in 11.0 ppg.
Texas A&M also is 12-4 overall but 2-0 in the league. The Aggies' four setbacks were to Texas, Syracuse, Penn State and St. John's. In SEC play, Texas A&M has defeated Alabama and No. 12 LSU.
"Dueling Courtneys" lead the Aggies offensively. Courtney Williams leads Texas A&M with a 13.1 ppg average, while Courtney Walker chips in 12.6 ppg. Karla Gilbert adds 10.1 ppg and team-high 7.9 rpg.
Keeping an eye on...entering today's game:
Quoting Coach Landers...On the challenges of playing Texas A&M...
"Texas A&M...that's never going to be an easy game. This is a basketball team that knows how to play basketball. It's a well-coached basketball team. It's always a team that's talented. They are particularly talented in the back court. They will guard you. They will scheme with you offensively. They will scheme with you defensively. It will be an extremely competitive afternoon."
On the rigors of SEC play...
Series History against The Aggies
Texas A&M owns a 2-0 lead in its series with the Lady Bulldogs, making the Aggies one of only two SEC programs (Tennessee is the other) to possess a winning record over UGA.
Last Jan. 20 in Athens, No. 13 Georgia suffered its first and only home loss of the season, 64-46, to No. 20 Texas A&M.
With the game tied 8-8, the Aggies went on a 16-2 run that gave them a definitive 24-10 lead with five minutes left in the first half. Texas A&M capped the spurt off with three consecutive treys in just over a minute.
Midway through the second half, Krista Donald hit four free throws to ignite a Lady Bulldog 14-2 surge, but the Aggies responded with a 6-0 spurt of their own.
Texas A&M defeated Georgia in the only other meeting between the two programs in the "Sweet 16" round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament in Dallas. Those Aggies went on to beat top-ranked Baylor in the "Elite Eight" and eventually capture the NCAA Championship.
Last Time out...
Missouri outscored Georgia 16-5 over the final 8:16 en route to a 66-56 upset of the No. 25 Lady Bulldogs at Mizzou Arena on Thursday.
The Lady Bulldogs led for the first 27 minutes until a Morgan Eye 3-pointer gave the Tigers their first advantage at 45-44. The lead changed hands six times over the next 2:56 before a Kayla McDowell 3-pointer put Missouri up 53-51 and opened the decisive surge.
Georgia grabbed a quick 7-2 lead and maintained a relatively comfortable edge for the first 27 minutes. Midway through the period, a 7-0 surge covering just 57 seconds put Georgia up 21-11 at the 9:58 mark.
The Lady Bulldogs held a two-possession edge most of the remainder of the half and led 35-29 before Missouri scored consecutive field goals in the final 49 seconds to close the gap to 35-33 at the intermission, the closest the Tigers had been since the score was 8-6.
Georgia regained a six-point lead early in the second half before the Tigers scored 12 of the game's next 17 points, culminating with Eye's 3 with 13:02 left.
A familiar, friendly face
Georgia's Andy Landers and Texas A&M's Gary Blair have been friends for decades. The relationship dates back to the early-80s when Blair was an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech.
Blair was on the Lady Techsters' staff when Georgia faced La. Tech for the first time on Jan. 27, 1982. The top-ranked Lady Techsters defeated the No. 16-ranked Lady Bulldogs in a UGA "home" game played at the Cobb Civic Center in Marietta.
Landers and Blair were set to face off for the first time in Dec. 1993 when Stephen F. Austin traveled to Athens; however, Blair left SFA to for Arkansas the previous spring.
From 1993-2003 when Blair was the head coach of the Lady Razorbacks, the Lady Bulldogs compiled a 13-1 record against Arkansas.
Blair has reversed that trend during his tenure in College Station, leading the Aggies to a 2-0 record against Georgia.
Lady Dogs 0-3 in SEC play for first time
Georgia finds itself at 0-3 in Southeastern Conference action for the first time in the program's history. In fact, only once before, in 1992-93, had the Lady Bulldogs lost their first two league outings.
Georgia finished with a 4-7 SEC record that season and entered the SEC Tournament with a 17-11 overall mark 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.
Three-game losing skids rare for UGA
This is just the ninth time Lady Bulldogs have lost three consecutive games during Andy Landers' 35 seasons and 1,114 games coached for Georgia.
On seven of those occasions, Georgia successfully snapped the skid in its next outing. The only losing streak longer than three games came in 2008-09, when the Lady Bulldogs lost five straight SEC dates between Feb. 5-22.
Lady Bulldogs Giving The Ball Away
After averaging 15.0 turnovers in its first 11 games, Georgia has committed 95 TOs in its last five contests.
The Lady Bulldogs possessed a healthy +141 (12.8 ppg) edge on their opponents in points off TOs through 11 outings. Since then, opponents have outpaced Georgia 104-81 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."
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 and is 18 points shy of No. 27 Alexis Kendrick.
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 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.
Hanging their hat on defense
In the latest NCAA statistics through games of Jan. 5, the Lady Bulldogs rank eighth nationally in scoring defense, surrendering just 54.4 points per game, and 20th in field goal percentage defense, limiting their foes to just 34.4 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 Lady Bulldog freshmen 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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