Lady Bulldogs Travel to Florida, Sunday at 1pm
Jan. 18, 2014
Lady Bulldogs To Face Gators
The Georgia Lady Bulldogs return to the roadthis Sundayafternoon to face interstate rival Florida in Gainesville. The1:00 p.m.contest will be televised regionally by CSS and available onespn3.com, with Matt Stewart and Steffi Sorensen serving in the play-by-play and color analyst roles, respectively.
Georgia is 13-5 overall and 1-4 in SEC play. The Lady Bulldogs raced to an 11-0 start - equaling the seventh-best beginning in school history - and climbed as high as No. 15 in the national polls before losing five of their next six and their first four SEC outings. Georgia got off the schneid with a 60-58 victory over Arkansason Thursdaynight.
Quoting Coach Landers...
On the challenges of playing Florida...
"Florida is a very good offensive team, with three guards who can absolutely make plays. They have a dangerous inside game and can stretch you from the inside out, which is not always an easy adjustment for a forward to make. They have explosive guards, all of whom are averaging in double figures. Of course, (Jaterra) Bonds can go off and have an incredible night at any time."
On rebounding from an 0-4 start in SEC play...
"We didn't wake up this morning 0-4 in the league. It took us two weeks to get here. To get out will take at least two weeks. We didn't get here overnight, and we're not in Vegas...we can't double-down. We can only do that by winning one game at a time...preparing one day at a time what our exit will look like from being 0-4. We've got to dig out of this thing one day at a time. It's doable. There's obviously a lot of basketball left to be played, but we have to do so with some sense of urgency. Our basketball team has to view this week as an unbelievable opportunity to start getting well."
Series History versus the Gators
Georgia is 48-14 all-time against the Gators, including a 20-10 record in Gainesville.
Three of the Gators' victories came prior to Andy Landers' tenure at UGA. He is an even more impressive 48-11 versus Florida.
The contest will be the 63rd between the Lady Bulldogs and the Gators, making Florida Georgia's most familiar foe.
The Lady Bulldogs swept the home-and-home series last season, winning 69-52 in Athens in January and 62-57 in Gainesville in February. That snapped a streak of 10 straight victories for the home team in the series.
In the O'Connell Center match-up, Jasmine Hassell notched her third straight double-double, including a career-high 16 rebounds, to lead No. 13 Georgia to a 62-57 victory.
Hassell's 16 points and 16 boards paced the Lady Bulldogs, while Jasmine James chipped in a dozen points. Nine different Lady Bulldogs scored, including key late 3-pointers by Khaalidah Miller and Anne Marie Armstrong.
"There were a lot of people who contributed quality minutes for us today," Andy Landers said. "I'm very pleased for and proud of our basketball team."
Early on, it appeared the Gators would avenge their 17-point loss in Athens a month earlier. Florida led 24-12 midway through the first half before the Lady Bulldogs rallied to tie the game with a 12-0 run. Georgia took the lead on a pair of Hassell free throws with 2.8 seconds on the clock.
The contest featured 10 ties and seven lead changes and neither team was up by more than two possessions throughout the second half until James hit both ends of a one-and-one with six seconds remaining that put Georgia up 62-55.
The Lady Bulldogs led for most of the second half but could never put any significant distance on the scoreboard. Armstrong's 3 with3:03left put Georgia up 55-51; however, jumpers by Jennifer George and Sydney Moss knotted the score for the 10th and final time with2:21left.
James canned a jumper with five seconds left on the shot clock at the1:56mark and Miller knocked down her third 3 of the second half with 39 seconds remaining to put Georgia up 60-55.
Following a missed 3 by Carlie Needles, the Gators fouled over the final 32 seconds but could pull no closer.
Last Time out...
Georgia picked up its first conference win of the season Thursday night in dramatic fashion defeating Arkansas, 60-58.
Shacobia Barbee led the Lady Bulldogs with 17 points, while Krista Donald and Marjorie Butler added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Georgia clinched the game after a thrilling final few minutes that saw the Razorbacks close the gap from 10 points at the6:09mark to one with2:05left a Calli Berna 3-pointer made the score 52-51.
Strong Georgia defense forced the Razorbacks into several key fouls later on with Barbee, Merritt Hempe and Butler hitting key free-throws down the stretch.
"I laugh when I say this but if they had stepped up a little earlier at the free throw line we might have not needed them to come back so late," Andy Landers said. "But when the intense heat was on and the clock was running low and we needed points people went to the free throw line and made big baskets."
Barbee leads here, there, everywhere
Following a 17-point outburst against Arkansason Thursday, Shacobia Barbee now leads Georgia - average wise - in scoring (12.3 ppg), rebounding (7.8 rpg), assists (3.8 apg) and steals (2.7 spg).
For the record - and to probably totally jinx Barbee's chances to do so - no player has ever led UGA in all four categories for a season.
Attached to rivals North and South
The player who will likely receive the loudest individual cheer when starters are announcedon Sundaymay surprise you.
Marjorie Butler lists her hometown as Knoxville, Tenn., but she considers Gainesville, Fla., "my second home" as both her parents grew up in Gainesville.
Butler expects 60-70 friends and family to be at the game against the Gators.
Butler moved into the Lady Bulldogs' starting five three games ago at Missouri after helping key a 21-0 rally against No. 5 Tennessee that trimmed a 27-point deficit to 76-70 with1:12left in that game.
Butler also is coming off her best performance as a Lady Bulldog. During Thursday's win over Arkansas, she scored a season-high 10 points while playing a career-high 38 minutes. Butler was 3-of-3 from 3-point range, including a huge triple after the Razorbacks whittled a 14-point deficit with9:48remaining to 49-47 with4:40left.
"Basically, it just came down to who could make the most plays," Andy Landers said. "I don't think there's a bigger play than Marjorie Butler's jumpshot."
Lady Bulldogs fall from polls
After being ranked as high as No. 16 by the Associated Press and No. 15 in the USA Today coaches poll less than a month ago, Georgia dropped out of both rankings this week.
This marks the first time the Lady Bulldogs have not been ranked by the Associated Press since the end of the 2010-11 campaign and snapped a streak of 50 consecutive weeks in AP ledgers.
Georgia has a long history of AP rankings. The Lady Bulldogs' first poll appearance came in the preseason edition prior to the 1981-82 season, the same campaign that women's intercollegiate athletics came under the auspices of the NCAA. That also was the fifth year the AP published a women's college basketball poll.
Despite that half-decade gap prior from when the poll began to UGA's first ranking, both Georgia and Andy Landers now rank No. 2 in all-time appearances by a school and coach, respectively.
Since 1981-82, the Lady Bulldogs have been included in 509 of 586 weekly Associated Press polls, or 86.9 percent of those released.
Of those weeks, Georgia was featured in the top-10 of 268 polls, 45.7 percent of the rankings released during that span.
Multi-game losing skids rare for UGA
Georgia's four-game losing streak was the second-longest in Andy Landers' 35 seasons and 1,115 games coached for Georgia.
Just nine times during Landers' tenure has UGA dropped three straight. In seven of those occasions, Georgia successfully snapped the skid in its next outing.
The only five-game stretch of "Ls" came from Feb. 5-22, 2009.
Turning defense into offense
Through 11 games, the Lady Bulldogs possessed a healthy +141 (+12.8 ppg) edge on their opponents in points off TOs.
In the last seven contests, opponents have outpaced Georgia 139-110 (-4.1 ppg) in points from giveaways.
That's a relatively large swing of 16.9 ppg.
"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."
Miller tops millennium, moves up more
Khaalidah Miller became Lady Bulldog Basketball's 35th 1,000-point scorer during theNov. 19victory over Furman.
The Atlanta native has since moved up to No. 28 among Georgia's career scoring leaders and enters the Florida game seven points shy of current 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.
An unforgiving league
When Southeastern Conference play opened on Jan. 2, both Georgia and Arkansas were riding high.
The Lady Bulldogs sported a 12-1 non-conference mark during the 2013 calendar portion of the campaign, while the Razorbacks were the lone conference team able to finish pre-league competition with an unblemished record at 13-0.
That's a combined 25-1.
Prior to Thursday's game, the Lady Bulldogs endured their first 0-4 SEC start ever. Arkansas was 1-3 in the league.
That's a combined 1-7.
All SEC From here on out
Georgia will wrap up its 2013-14 regular season with 16 straight conference dates.
This afternoon Georgia concludes a challenging stretch of six games to begin SEC play versus 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).
Of those, the Commodores, Lady Volunteers, Aggies and Razorbacks have been ranked at some point this season...and the Gators have already defeated Arkansas and No. 6 Kentucky.
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.
Freshman Starter sorority grows
Andy Landers has continued his long-standing penchant of not fearing freshmen in the Lady Bulldogs' 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 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.
Eight current Lady Bulldogs - senior Khaalidah Miller; juniors Krista Donald and Erika Ford; sophomores Shacobia Barbee, Tiaria Griffin and Merritt Hempe; and freshmen McCaskill and Washington - all started as freshmen.
Barbee is one of the 23 freshmen to start their collegiate opener.
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