Lady Bulldogs Look for 24th Straight over Alabama
Jan. 25, 2014
Lady Bulldogs Trek To Tuscaloosa
The Georgia Lady Bulldogs return to action on Sunday following an open date from SEC play on Thursday. Georgia will face Alabama at 2:00 p.m. CT in a CSS regionally televised match-up also available on espn3.com. Matt Stewart and Joe Ciampi will handle play-by-play and color analyst roles, respectively.
Georgia is 14-5 overall and 2-4 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 has since bounced back with consecutive wins over Arkansas and Florida.
Shacobia Barbee supplanted classmate Tiaria Griffin as the Lady Bulldogs' leading scorer during a 17-point performance against Arkansas. Barbee now paces Georgia in scoring (12.2 ppg), rebounding (7.8 rpg), assists (3.5 apg) and steals (an SEC-leading 2.7 spg). Griffin (11.2 ppg) and Khaalidah Miller (10.8 ppg) also supply points at a double-digit pace.
In SEC action, Barbee and Krista Donald offer almost identical team-high stats. Barbee's 11.8 ppg is a single point better than Donald's 11.7 ppg, while both are averaging 6.7 rpg.
Alabama is 9-10 overall and also is off to a 2-4 start in SEC action. The Crimson Tide is coming off a 57-55 win at No. 9 Kentucky on Thursday and did so without leading scorer Shafontaye Myers in the lineup.
Daisha Simmons' game-high 21 points in Lexington upped her season average to 14.0 ppg. Myers is currently contributing 15.1 ppg and Ashley Williams chips in 11.2 ppg and a team-high 5.8 rpg.
Keeping an eye on...entering today's game:
Khaalidah Miller is...
Quoting Coach Landers...
On the open date on Thursday...
On the Challenges of playing Alabama...
Quote from Jan. 12 On rebounding from an 0-4 start in SEC play...
Series History versus the Tide
The Lady Bulldogs own a 36-9 lead in their all-time series with Alabama, including a 14-4 mark in Tuscaloosa.
Georgia has won 23 consecutive meetings with the Crimson Tide, last losing in 1998 in Tuscaloosa during the freshman season of Coco and Kelly Miller.
Georgia swept both ends of a home-and-home series last season, winning 95-83 in Tuscaloosa on Jan. 10 and 65-59 in Athens on Jan. 31.
In Athens, six different Georgia players scored eight or more points to lead the Lady Bulldogs to victory. Khaalidah Miller and Jasmine Hassell led the Lady Bulldogs with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Lady Bulldogs used a 10-0 run to open up a 14-point lead with just over 12 minutes remaining. Georgia led by as many as 17 points before the Crimson Tide mounted a comeback.
Alabama used an 8-0 run to come within four but failed on four chances to pull closer.
The victory in Athens represented the 850th "W" in the history of Lady Bulldog Basketball, making UGA the 10th Division I women's hoops program to reach that milestone.
In the last meeting in Tuscaloosa, Hassell scored 21 points and Tiaria Griffin added 20 to lead five Lady Bulldogs in double figures.
After leading by five at the half, Georgia used a 16-4 spurt to expand the margin to 58-44 with 14:59 remaining.
The Crimson Tide closed the gap to single digits just once thereafter, at 66-57, but the Lady Bulldogs responded with an 8-0 spurt to quickly regain solid separation.
The 95 points not only represented Georgia's highest offensive output of 2012-13, it also qualified as its largest number in SEC play in nearly a decade...to the day. The last time Georgia scored more points in league action was a 105-62 win over Florida on Jan. 12, 2003.
Last Time out...
Erika Ford poured in a career-high 23 points to lead four Lady Bulldogs in double figures as Georgia rallied past Florida, 68-62, last Sunday.
The Lady Bulldogs outscored the Gators 15-9 in the game's waning moments.
"We talked about that with about two-three minutes remaining," Andy Landers said. "We've been in that position before. We've been in that position in our first two SEC road games at Vanderbilt and Missouri. Both of those were winnable games but we didn't play well enough down the stretch. Today, hopefully, we grew up some."
Georgia, which ranks last in the SEC in free throw percentage, shot a season-best 88.9 percent. The Lady Bulldogs connected on 16-of-18 free throws, including 11-of-12 in the final 5:34 after the game was tied 53-53.
Florida scored the game's first seven points over the opening 1:25 and maintained a comfortable lead for the remainder of the period.
Georgia got within two points four times in the second half before finally knotting the score at 43-43 on a Krista Donald jumper with 10:52 left. Florida regained a 47-43 lead before a Shacobia Barbee layup and a Khaalidah Miller 3-pointer gave the Lady Bulldogs their first lead at 49-48.
Following three lead changes, the Gators tied the score at 53-53. Merritt Hempe then hit two free throws to open UGA's decisive surge.
Barbee leads here, there, everywhere
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).
Barbee is the only player in the SEC to currently lead her team in all four categories.
In fact, Barbee is one of just seven Division I women's basketball players nationally entering this weekend leading their team in ppg, rpg, apg and spg as outlined below.
For the record - and to probably totally jinx Barbee's chances to do so - no player has ever led UGA in all four statistics for a season.
Crenshaw, Mosley know Bama well
Crenshaw played for the Crimson Tide from 1997-98 and was captain of the 2000-01 squad. She was a significant contributor to teams that reached post-season play during each of her four seasons in Tuscaloosa, advancing to the 1998 and 1999 NCAA Tournaments and the 2000 and 2001 WNITs.
All told, Crenshaw scored 716 points, grabbed 555 rebounds and blocked 103 shots, a tally which ranks No. 4 all-time among the Crimson Tide's career leaders.
Mosley was an assistant coach for the Crimson Tide from 2010-12 before joining the UGA staff in the summer of 2012.
Prior to moving to the collegiate level, Mosley led Ramsay High in Birmingham to four state championships between 2004-10. During that span, he coached UGA graduate assistant manager Katherine Graham and former Alabama player Kaneisha Horn.
Taking advantage of the charity
Although Georgia ranks 14th in the SEC and 327th in the nation in free throw percentage, you wouldn't think so after watching the Lady Bulldogs' last 41:46 of basketball.
For the season, Georgia has made just 216-of-257 attempts at the charity stripe, a paltry percentage of 60.5.
The Lady Bulldogs are 24-of-28 - a sizzling 85.7 percent - in the aforementioned span, which includes the final 106 seconds against Arkansas and the entire game at Florida.
Georgia held off the Razorbacks by hitting 8-of-10 FTs in the final 1:46 and then connected on 16-of-18 free throws - including 11-of-12 in the final 5:34 - in Gainesville.
Andy Landers' confidence in his players' ability to convert at the line never wavered, largely due to what he saw in practice on a daily basis.
"We shoot them great in practice just about every day," Landers said. "I didn't think it was broke. I just thought it was something a young team needed to get comfortable with in games. We shoot a good percentage in practice. I know we have good strokes."
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 in December, Georgia dropped out of both rankings on Jan. 13 after losing its first four SEC outings.
That marked the first time the Lady Bulldogs were not 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 the poll's beginning to UGA's first ranking, Georgia and Andy Landers rank No. 2 in poll appearances by a school and coach, respectively.
Since 1981-82, the Lady Bulldogs have been included in 509 of 587 weekly Associated Press polls, or 86.7 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 between 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 stretch when Georgia lost five of six outings, opponents outpaced Georgia 118-91 (-4.5 ppg) in points from giveaways.
That was a relatively significant swing of 17.3 ppg.
"The cause, I think, has just been a lack of discipline," Andy Landers said following a Jan. 2 loss at Vanderbilt. "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."
In wins over Arkansas and Florida, Georgia owns a 35-33 edge on points from TOs.
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. 27 among Georgia's career scoring leaders and enters the Alabama game 11 points shy of current No. 26 Sherelle Warren.
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.
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.
Freshman Starter sorority grows
Andy Landers has continued his long-standing penchant of starting freshmen.
Sydnei McCaskill got the nod against Presbyterian to become the 73rd freshman to start during Landers' 35 seasons at UGA and the 23rd do so in her Lady Bulldog debut. McCaskill played all 40 minutes, joining Coco Miller as the only Lady Bulldog freshmen to play every second of their collegiate opener.
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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