Georgia Hosts Aggies on ESPN2
Jan. 19, 2013
Georgia Hosts Aggies on ESPN2
For the second consecutive Sunday, a ranked foe travels to Athens to face No. 13 Georgia. The Lady Bulldogs will host No. 20 Texas A&M in an ESPN2 nationally televised matchup at 5 p.m. Adam Amin will call the play-by-play, while former Auburn coach Nell Fortner will serve as color analyst.
A week ago, Georgia defeated No. 18 South Carolina, 42-40, in the lowest-scoring victory in 40 seasons of Lady Bulldog Basketball.
There are two promotional giveaways associated with Sunday's game. The first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive Hello Kitty plush dolls, and the first 1,500 kids will receive Lady Bulldog replica jersey t-shirts.
The Lady Bulldogs improved to 16-2 overall and 4-1 in SEC play with Thursday's win at Arkansas. Shacobia Barbee's career- and game-high tallies of 15 points and 11 rebounds also supplied her first career double-double as Georgia rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit to win in Fayetteville.
A single bucket separates the Lady Bulldogs' top two season scoring leaders, a pair of senior Jasmines. Jasmine James' 223 points puts her average at 12.4 ppg, just ahead of Jasmine Hassell's 221 points and 12.3 ppg.
Barbee, a freshman who was a two-time Miss Tennessee Basketball at Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro, Tenn., also has been an extremely solid contributor and leads the Lady Bulldogs in rebounds (98), assists (59) and steals (50 is tied with James).
Texas A&M returns to action for the first time since defeating Auburn last Sunday. The Aggies are 13-5 overall - with all five "Ls" coming to top-10 teams - and 3-1 in league action.
Kelsey Bone not only leads Texas A&M and also the SEC in both scoring (18.3 ppg) and rebounding (10.3 rpg). In addition, Courtney Walker is chipping in 10.1 ppg.
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Andy Landers
#Assists Per Game
Keeping an eye on...entering the game:
Andy Landers is...
Series history with Texas A&M
Texas A&M defeated Georgia, 79-38, in the only previous meeting between the two programs in the "Sweet 16" round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament in Dallas. The Aggies eventually went on to capture the national championship.
The Texas A&M roster features five reserves from the national championship team - seniors Kristi Bellock, Adrienne Pratcher and Cierra Windham and juniors Karla Gilbert and Kristen Grant.
Last time out...
Shacobia Barbee's career highs of 15 points and 11 rebounds also supplied her first career double-double and led No. 13 Georgia to a 57-53 victory at Arkansas on Thursday night.
The Lady Bulldogs rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit and an 11-point halftime gap to win.
"It was a gutty comeback, and I think everyone who played in the second half did something significant to put us in a position to come back and win that basketball game," Andy Landers said. "It wasn't a great individual effort; it was a great team effort made by individuals."
After trailing 30-19 at the half and falling behind by 13 early in the second stanza, Georgia outscored the Razorbacks 36-19 over the final 15:51.
Consecutive baskets by Jasmine Hassell opened a 14-2 run that pulled the Lady Bulldogs within 36-34 at the 10:33 mark; however, Arkansas regained a 44-39 lead just 3:20 later. Georgia went on top for good on a Krista Donald layup with 5:27 remaining.
The first half was a different story altogether when a 14-0 run moved the scoreboard from a 9-8 Georgia lead to a 22-8 Arkansas advantage. The Razorbacks' largest edge came at 25-10 with 4:34 left in half on Keira Peak basket.
A familiar face: Take I
Georgia's Andy Landers and Texas A&M's Gary Blair have been friends for decades.
The relationship dates back to the Blair's tenure as an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech in the early 1980s.
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, Ga.
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 Nacogdoches to be the head coach at 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.
A familiar face: Take II
Today's starting point guards also are extremely familiar with each other.
Georgia's Jasmine James and Texas A&M's Adrienne Pratcher are seniors from Memphis, Tenn., and played AAU basketball together for the Memphis Elite program from when they were 9-14.
James played at Bartlett High where she became the Memphis Commercial Appeal's first three-time Best of Preps Player of the Year in girls' basketball in the award's 40-year history.
Pratcher played at East High and was ranked as one of the nation's top-60 prospect in the Class of 2009 by three different national scouting services.
James did not remember playing against Pratcher in high school but did say they faced off several times in AAU and local all-star games.
Hassell earns SEC accolade
Jasmine Hassell was named SEC Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 20.0 points in the Lady Bulldogs' previous two victories over No. 18 South Carolina and Alabama.
Hassell scored 21 points against Alabama in Tuscaloosa, a career high against SEC competition. That bettered her previous mark of 20 points established versus both Tennessee in the 2011 SEC Tournament and Ole Miss her freshman year.
The senior from Lebanon, Tenn., then scored 19 points versus South Carolina, accounting for 45 percent of the Lady Bulldogs' total offense in the 42-40 win. She did so while playing with a protective mask after suffering a slight nasal fracture during the Alabama game.
For the week, Hassell connected on 15-of-22 (.682) of her FGs and 12-of-12 (.833) of her FTs.
Hassell is the 23rd different Lady Bulldog to win SEC Player of the Week honors since the award's inception in 1985. Those players - a list which also includes Anne Marie Armstrong and Jasmine James - have combined to secure 44 SEC Player of the Week accolades.
Diversity training: Ways to Win
It would be hard to fathom a team securing victories in more varied fashions than the Lady Bulldogs did in their last three outings.
Last Thursday, Georgia outscored Alabama, 95-83, in what represented UGA's more points scored and points allowed this season.
That 95 points also was the Lady Bulldogs' highest tally in SEC action for just two days shy of a decade...since a 105-62 victory at Florida on Jan. 12, 2003.
Last Sunday, Georgia outlasted South Carolina, 42-40, in what amounted to the fewest points scored in a win in the history of Lady Bulldog Basketball.
The previous low stood for four days shy of 39 years. In its inaugural season of intercollegiate women's basketball, UGA earned a 43-42 win over DeKalb College on Jan. 17, 1974. That was the program's first-ever win and lasted as the lowest output in a victory for 1,199 games.
"You go out and score 95 and you go out and score 42 and you win both games," Andy Landers said. "I think it shows your players have the ability to play both ways - to not cave and hang in there and do what it takes to win. That could mean you have to run the floor a few more times and score points or you have to hunker down and 'D' it up a little harder. That's what we did last week."
Georgia continued its wayward paths to success in Fayetteville where the Lady Bulldogs trailed by 15 in the first half and scored just 19 points in the opening period - a new season low - before rallying to victory.
Shorter benches on Thursdays
The Lady Bulldogs' wins at Alabama and Arkansas are even more impressive considering Georgia played without two players from its regular rotation.
Anne Marie Armstrong rolled her ankle in practice two days before the Alabama game. She warmed up in Tuscaloosa but then secured the first "DNP" of her collegiate career. Merritt Hempe was out due to soreness in her foot, a condition athletic trainer Shannon Becker has been managing since early December.
In Fayetteville, Hempe again was held out and Marjorie Butler missed her first game after "tweaking" her knee in practice on Tuesday.
UGA has nine top-40 hits
Georgia is ranked among the nation's top-40 teams in nine statistics, including six in the top 20.
The Lady Bulldogs are No. 2 in turnover margin (+9.17), No. 9 in steals (13.3), No. 11 in scoring margin (+20.1), No. 13 in assist-to-TO ratio (1.14), No. 15 in scoring defense (51.5), No. 20 in fewest TOs per game (14.1), No. 37 in scoring offense (71.6), No. 35 in assists (16.0) and No. 37 in FG pct. (.433).
Lady Bulldogs hit "magic number"
Georgia has furthered one of the greatest statistical indicators in any sport six times this season.
The Lady Bulldogs put up 80 or more points in wins over Savannah State, St. Bonaventure, Furman, Mercer, Lipscomb and Alabama to improve to 425-6 when reaching the 80-point plateau under Andy Landers.
That converts to an almost unfathomable winning percentage of .98607889.
It also highlights the Lady Bulldogs have hit that mark in more than half of Landers' victories at UGA.
Playing time being distributed
A year ago, six Lady Bulldogs averaged between 20.0 and 34.5 minutes per game. All told, five players logged all 40 minutes a combined 25 times.
This season, "PT" is being more equally distributed. Nine Georgia players are averaging between 12.9 and 28.0 minutes played per game.
Most dramatically affected has been Jasmine James. James averaged 35.4 mpg during her first three seasons and played 30 minutes or more in 82 of 91 games played over that span.
This season, James leads the team in MP but has only played 30 or more in eight of 18 contest. She did log all 40 minutes for the first time this season in Fayetteville since back-up Butler was out with a slight knee injury.
Less means more for James
Decreased playing time has likely played a role in much greater efficiency by senior Jasmine James.
"All her negatives are down," Andy Landers said. "All her positives are up."
James connected on 35.2 percent of her shots from the floor in her first three seasons in Athens, topping out at 38.9 percent a year ago.
This year, James is shooting 47.7 percent from the field, which is No. 6 in the SEC and No. 73 nationally. Among perimeter players, that percentage is tops in the league and also the 13th-best in the nation.
Hassell hits millennium as well
Jasmine Hassell scored her 1,000th career point against Savannah State, becoming the 33rd Lady Bulldog to reach that milestone.
The former McDonald's and WBCA prep All-American from Wilson Central High in Lebanon, Tenn., has developed consistently throughout her career.
Hassell averaged 6.2 ppg as a freshman, improved to 9.6 ppg as a sophomore and bumped that up to a team-high 13.0 ppg as a junior.
Hassell moved past Alexis Kendrick to No. 26 among the Lady Bulldogs' career scoring leaders at Arkansas. She has 1,161 points, 13 from No. 25 Sherelle Warren and 28 shy of No. 24 Angel Robinson.
A milestone in the making
Anne Marie Armstrong needs 110 points to become the third Georgia senior to reach 1,000 career points.
James scored her 1000th point late last season at South Carolina and Hassell became the 33rd Lady Bulldog to reach the millennium milestone against Savannah State on Nov. 20.
The only three classmates to top 1,000 points at UGA to date are the Class of 1997's La'Keshia Frett (1,850 points), Tracy Henderson (1,764) and Kedra Holland-Corn (1,566).
Depth showing up elsewhere
Georgia's depth has provided a big boost in a couple of "specialty stats."
The Lady Bulldogs' bench has contributed 448 points, 196 more than the opposing teams' reserves have put up.
Georgia has scored 451 points off of opponents' turnovers, while giving up just 158 - a massive +293 margin.
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