Lady Bulldog Host Ole Miss on Sunday
Feb. 8, 2014
Lady Bulldogs back in action
The Georgia Lady Bulldogs return to action following an open date on Thursday when they host Ole Miss at Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.
Georgia is 15-7 overall and 3-6 in SEC play after dropping an 80-67 decision at Mississippi State last Sunday.
This season, 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 starting SEC play 0-4 for the first time ever. Georgia has since won three of its last five outings.
Shacobia Barbee paces Georgia in scoring (12.4 ppg), rebounding (7.9 rpg), assists (3.5 apg) and steals (an SEC-best 2.8 spg). Khaalidah Miller (11.0 ppg) and Tiaria Griffin (10.4 ppg) also are scoring at a double-digit pace.
In SEC action, Barbee leads the Lady Bulldogs at 12.3 ppg and 7.2 rpg, while Miller (10.6 ppg) produces a second a double-figure scoring average as well.
Ole Miss arrives in Athens with a 10-14 overall record and a 1-9 SEC mark. The Rebels' league victory was an 87-85 overtime decision over Mississippi State on Jan. 23.
Ole Miss sports the SEC's most potent 1-2 offensive punch. Forward Tia Faleru (16.7 ppg) and guard Valencia McFarland (16.0 ppg) currently rank third and fifth, respectively, among the league's scoring leaders. Diara Moore, who missed Thursday's game against Tennessee, chips in 11.0 ppg. Faleru leads the SEC in rebounding at 9.8 rpg.
Keeping an eye on...entering today's game:
Khaalidah Miller is...
Quoting Coach Landers...
On the Off Week...
On The challenges of playing Ole Miss...
On The parity in the SEC this season...
Series History versus Ole Miss
Georgia sports a 29-11 lead in the series with Ole Miss, including an even more impressive 15-1 edge in Athens.
Last season in Oxford, Andy Landers became just the fourth major college women's basketball coach to record 900 career victories as his 13th-ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs dispatched Ole Miss, 73-54, on Feb. 24 at Tad Smith Coliseum.
Jasmine Hassell led the way with game-high tallies of 23 points and 10 boards, her fourth double-double in five games. Shacobia Barbee and Tiaria Griffin added 13 and 12 points, respectively, while Jasmine James had a season-high eight assists.
The Lady Bulldogs ended much of the drama early, racing to a 13-0 lead over the game's opening 2:57. Georgia led by 13 and halftime and opened the second stanza with a 12-0 surge that all but guaranteed the victory.
"I'm most happy that our basketball team is now 23-4," Landers said. "As far as the 900th win, I've been blessed have a lot of great players...assistant coaches...support staff...fans...there are a lot of people of have played a large part in those victories. I'm thankful for all of them. They have all played a great part in our success through the years."
Landers' achievement was not recognized by most national news agencies because the NCAA counted the win in Oxford as the 818th of his career. From 1974-79, Landers garnered 82 wins at Roane State, a junior college in Harriman, Tenn. The NCAA only counts victories at four-year institutions in its career records.
"I get it," Landers said. "I understand that I am probably the only person who will ever have this. It doesn't upset me in any way. But I will say this...I am as proud of the 82 wins at Roane as I am of the victories at Georgia."
In the most recent match-up in Athens on Jan. 23, 2012, Meredith Mitchell's 20 points led a quartet of double-digit scoring Lady Bulldogs as No. 18 Georgia topped Ole Miss, 73-54.
The Lady Bulldogs led just 36-34 at halftime but outscored the Rebels 51-18 - including a decisive 30-3 surge - following the intermission. With 18:53 remaining in the game and the score tied at 39-39, a Mitchell trey ignited the run that eventually put the Lady Bulldogs up by 27, 69-42.
Last Time out...
Despite a career-high 27 points by Erika Ford, Mississippi State still defeated the Georgia Lady Bulldogs 80-67 at Humphrey Coliseum last Sunday.
State used a 9-0 run early in the first half to grab a lead, gradually expanded that margin to 18 points late in the period and then withstood several rallies by Georgia in the second stanza.
The Lady Bulldogs pulled within 71-65 on a Krista Donald layup with 2:22 remaining; however, Martha Alwal answered with a layin of her own on the other end. Following a missed baseline jumper by Merritt Hempe, Katia May knocked down a jumper with 1:25 left to put State back up by 10 points.
The 9-0 run gave State a 15-7 early lead and the game's first significant edge. State's lead eventually reached 41-23 with 4:19 left in the first half before Georgia began a furious surge to end the period. Ford scored nine points in a 12-2 run over the final 2:26 that trimmed the margin all the way seven points at the break.
The Lady Bulldogs actually made one more field goal than State in the first half; however, State converted on 14-of-17 trips to the line to help build its large lead.
Georgia got closest at 46-41 on a Donald layup with 18:26 remaining the game, but Savannah Carter canned a long 3-pointer late in the shot clock to open a 7-0 surge that put State back up 54-41 less than three minutes later.
The Lady Bulldogs pulled with seven three times before making it a two-possession game with just over two minutes left on the clock but could not get any closer.
UGA Ties to the Magnolia State
Three members of Lady Bulldog Basketball are Mississippi natives. Associate head coach Joni Crenshaw is from Meridian, while players Krista Donald and Tiaria Griffin hail from Lake and Monticello, respectively.
Crenshaw, who is in her third season in Athens, was the 1997 Gatorade Player of the Year for Mississippi at Meridian High. She led Meridian to a combined 67-7 record during her junior and senior seasons and also won three state titles in track and field.
Crenshaw played collegiately at Alabama and finished her career with 716 points, 555 rebounds and 103 blocks, a tally that remains No. 4 among the Crimson Tide's career leaders.
Donald was named Miss Basketball by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger and the Gatorade Player of the Year in 2011. She was a four-year starter at Lake High, where she scored 2,456 points and grabbed 1,470 rebounds.
Griffin was a two-time first-team All-State performer, earning 4A honors as a junior at Lawrence County High and 6A accolades as a senior at Hattiesburg High. She averaged 30.1 ppg as a junior and 24.1 ppg as a senior.
Barbee leads here, there, everywhere
Shacobia Barbee leads Georgia in scoring (12.4 ppg), rebounding (7.9 rpg), assists (3.5 apg) and steals (an SEC-leading 2.8 spg).
Barbee is the only player in the SEC who leads her team in all four stats.
In fact, she is one of just seven Division I women's hoops players nationally entering this weekend leading their team in ppg, rpg, apg and spg as outlined on below.
Taking advantage of the charity
Although Georgia ranks last in the SEC and 315th in the nation in free throw percentage, the Lady Bulldogs have been much better at the line in their last four-plus games.
With 1:46 remaining in its win over Arkansas, Georgia had made just 192-of-329 attempts at the charity stripe, a paltry percentage of 58.4. The Lady Bulldogs then hit 8-of-10 FTs in the final 106 seconds to hold off the Razorbacks in a 60-58 win.
Beginning with that sequence through the last quartet of contests, the Lady Bulldogs have been 59-of-74 at the line, a sizzling 79.7 percent conversion rate.
Georgia was particularly impressive in its win over Florida on Jan. 19. The Lady Bulldogs made 16-of-18 free throws - including 11-of-12 in the final 5:34 - in Gainesville.
Andy Landers' confidence in his players' abilities to knock down free throws 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."
What the Dickens is going on on "D"
Georgia's performance in the Lady Bulldogs' last two games has been arguably their "best of D and the worst of D" this season.
In a win over No. 13 Kentucky, Georgia held the Wildcats to 56 points, 30.1 points under their season average that led the SEC and ranked No. 5 nationally entering that week.
Samarie Walker's 10 points paced Kentucky, a team with five players averaging double digits and a sixth two points shy of being another double-figure ppg producer.
Mississippi State then produced the best overall (27-of-52=.519) and 3-point (6-of-9=.667) field goal percentages of any Georgia opponent this season en route to an 80-67 victory. State's 27 field goals made and 44 first-half points also represented season highs for a Lady Bulldog opponent.
Donald quite a story for Georgia
To say that Krista Donald's left knee is held together with duct tape might be an exaggeration, but the contributions of the junior from Lake, Miss., could not be overstated.
Donald was plagued throughout most of her first two seasons in Athens with a nagging posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in her left knee. An arthroscopic procedure last summer to "clean up" the knee has allowed Donald to fully display her vast skill set.
Donald entered the season with a career high of 22 minutes played against Appalachian State as a freshman.
This season, Donald has bettered that 22-minute mark in 19 of 22 games, including 11 outings of 30-plus minutes and a 40-minute outing at Florida.
The MPG increase only begins to tell Donald's story. After averaging 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in her first two seasons, she is contributing 8.9 ppg and 7.0 rpg in 2013-14.
Donald reached double digits in just six of her first 55 games played as a Lady Bulldog but has now done so in nine of Georgia's last 15 outings.
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. 25 among Georgia's career scoring leaders and enters the Ole Miss game 11 points shy of current No. 24 Janese Hardrick and 24 from No. 23 Tawana McDonald.
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.
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 an extremely 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 its last five games, Georgia owns a 83-77 edge on points from TOs.
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 appearance came in the 1981-82 preseason, 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 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 589 weekly AP polls, or 86.4 percent of those released. Of those, Georgia was featured in the top-10 of 268 polls, 45.5 percent of the rankings released.
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.
Barbee is one of the 23 freshmen to start their collegiate opener.
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