Lady Bulldogs Encounter LSU Thursday Night
Feb. 19, 2014
Georgia Continues stretch run
The Georgia Lady Bulldogs continue a vital six-game stretch to wrap up the 2013-14 regular season on Thursday by hosting LSU at Stegeman Coliseum at 7:00 p.m.
The Lady Tigers are ranked No. 19 and No. 18 in this week's Associated Press and USA Today polls, respectively. More important to the Lady Bulldogs, however, is LSU's stature at No. 5 in the latest NCAA Ratings Percentage Index - more commonly known as the "rpi" - which weighs heavily in the eyes of the selection committee for the NCAA Tournament.
Georgia, currently viewed by most national pundits as a "bubble team," is No. 48 in the most recent edition of the rpi.
Last week, the Lady Bulldogs suffered a heart-breaking overtime loss at Texas A&M (rpi 11) before rebounding to defeat Florida (rpi 56).
After facing the Lady Tigers, Georgia will embark on a two-game road trip to Auburn (rpi 54) on Sunday and South Carolina (rpi 8) next Thursday before returning home closing out the regular season with a chance to avenge a Feb. 2 at Mississippi State (rpi 76).
The Lady Bulldogs are currently 17-8 overall and 5-7 in SEC play after completing a season sweep of Florida last Sunday.
This season, Georgia 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 its next six and starting SEC play 0-4 for the first time ever. The Lady Bulldogs are 5-3 since then.
Shacobia Barbee paces a quartet of guards averaging double figures for Georgia. Barbee actually leads UGA in scoring (12.7 ppg), rebounding (8.0 rpg), assists (3.5 apg) and steals (an SEC-best 2.7 spg). Khaalidah Miller (11.2 ppg), Erika Ford (10.4 ppg) and Tiaria Griffin (10.2 ppg) also average double digits.
In SEC action, Barbee leads the Lady Bulldogs at 12.9 ppg and 7.6 rpg, while Miller (10.9 ppg) and Ford (10.3) also are contributing double-figure scoring averages.
LSU arrives in Athens sporting records of 18-7 overall and 7-5 in league action. After starting their SEC slate 6-2, the Lady Tigers have dropped three of their last four outings, with setbacks to No. 13 Kentucky, No. 19 Texas A&M and No. 5 South Carolina.
Theresa Plaisance leads LSU both in scoring (14.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.3 rpg). Freshman Raigyne Moncrief chips in 13.3 ppg and Jeanne Kenney adds another double-figure average (11.0 ppg).
Plaisance tops the Lady Tigers in league play with averages of 16.2 ppg and 7.0 rpg. Kenney (12.2 ppg) is LSU's second-leading scorer, while Danielle Ballard adds 10.3 ppg. Moncrief (119 points in 12 SEC games) is a single point shy of averaging double figures at 9.9 ppg.
Keeping an eye on...entering today's game:
Khaalidah Miller is...
Quoting Coach Landers...
On the match-up against LSU...
On his team's performance against Florida...
Series History versus LSU
Georgia is 22-18 overall against LSU, including a 12-5 mark in Athens.
In the most recent match-up in the quarterfinals of last season's SEC Tournament, all five Lady Bulldog starters reached double figures in the scoring column as No. 12 Georgia defeated No. 22 LSU, 71-53.
Jasmine Hassell scored 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor to pace Georgia. Tiaria Griffin added 15, Anne Marie Armstrong scored 12, Shacobia Barbee chipped in 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds and Jasmine James contributed 10 points.
With the win, the Lady Bulldogs improved to 25-5 and clinched the 19th 25-win campaign during Andy Landers' 34 seasons at UGA.
The Lady Bulldogs started quickly, with back-to-back threes from Griffin and James giving Georgia a 6-0 lead less than two minutes in.
That margin grew to double digits for the first time (15-5) at the 12:59 mark. Georgia pushed its advantage to the largest margin of the opening period when consecutive layups by Merritt Hempe and Hassell put the Lady Bulldogs up 29-15.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the second stanza much like the first, scoring the first five points of the period to gain their largest lead to that point, 45-30. The margin topped out at 28 points at 69-41 on a Barbee three-point play with 5:06 left.
Georgia and LSU last met in Athens two seasons ago on Feb. 26, 2012, when No. 18 Georgia notched a 62-46 win over the Lady Tigers behind 14 points from Khaalidah Miller.
An Erika Ford jumper sparked a 10-0 Georgia push that put the Lady Bulldogs up 18-9.
Georgia maintained a relatively comfortable lead thereafter, including a 41-35 edge with 12:50 left that bulged to 53-35 at the 7:57 mark.
Last Time out...
Georgia edged a tight nip-and-tuck first period that saw the teams exchanging baskets after the Lady Bulldogs built an early lead courtesy of a Ford layup and Barbee jumper.
With 5:47 on the clock, Georgia stretched its lead to 30-23 on a Barbee 3-pointer. Khaalidah Miller scored five points in the last 1:18 of the half - including a 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer - to open up a 35-26 lead at the break.
After quickly building a double-digit lead early in the second period, Georgia lost the offensive momentum it had gained due to turnovers and going cold from the floor.
A prolonged stretch that saw the Lady Bulldogs go 0-for-8 shooting allowed the Gators to trim the Georgia advantage from 14 to three.
Ford snapped Georgia's cold streak and reinvigorated the Lady Bulldogs with two quick baskets which sandwiched a score for Hempe and saw Georgia stretch its lead back to double-digits.
Barbee leads here, there, everywhere
Shacobia Barbee leads Georgia in scoring (12.7 ppg), rebounding (8.0 rpg), assists (3.5 apg) and steals (an SEC-leading 2.7 spg).
Barbee is the only player in the SEC who leads her team in ppg, rpg, apg and spg.
In fact, she is one of just eight Division I women's hoops players nationally entering this week to do so as outlined below.
For the record - and to probably totally jinx Barbee's chance to do so - no player has ever led UGA in all four statistics for a season.
Familiar with the Bayou Bengals
Graham was a freshman on LSU's 2008 Final Four team and went on to start every game of her junior and senior seasons in Baton Rouge. She is one of only two players to record a triple-double for LSU...and the only player in Lady Tiger history to do so in SEC play (20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists vs. Ole Miss on Feb. 7, 2010). Graham played prep basketball for UGA assistant coach Robert Mosley at Ramsay High in Birmingham, Ala.
Washington faces home state school
Georgia freshman Halle Washington is a native of Bossier City, La., near Shreveport.
Washington was rated as one of the nation's top-50 overall prospects by four different recruiting services - No. 29 by collegesportsmadness.com; No. 30 by both ESPN Hoopgurlz and ProspectsNation.com and No. 48 by Full Court Press.
Washington was tabbed second-team All-State following her junior season at Parkway High School when she averaged 14.9 ppg, 9.5 rpg and 2.7 bpg. She missed a large chunk of her senior season with a knee injury.
This season, Washington is averaging 4.3 ppg and 4.2 rpg in 15.9 mpg for the Lady Bulldogs. She has two double-digit scoring performances, putting up 12 points against both Kennesaw State and George Washington.
Games decided American Idol Style
In eight of Georgia's 25 games this season the team trailing at halftime has rallied to win...after the break.
The Lady Bulldogs have come back from an intermission deficit to win five times, doing so against Ohio State, Furman, Georgia State, Florida and Kentucky.
Georgia has surrendered a halftime lead in three of its SEC road losses - at Vanderbilt, at Missouri and at Texas A&M.
Winning season in the bag
Georgia's Feb. 9 victory over Ole Miss guaranteed a 35th consecutive winning campaign under Andy Landers.
That represents the third-longest active streak of winning seasons in NCAA Division I women's basketball, trailing on Tennessee (41st in 2013-14) and Green Bay (36 through 2012-13 and 15-7 this season entering a Friday game with Cleveland State).
While winning seasons are commonplace for Georgia Basketball now, that wasn't always the case. The Lady Bulldogs were a woeful 37-85 (.303) in their first seven seasons of intercollegiate play prior to Landers' arrival. Georgia has since averaged 24.2 wins a season under Landers.
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. 22 among Georgia's career scoring leaders, most recently passing both Tawana McDonald and Stacey Ford during a 14-point performance against Florida in Athens.
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 as Executive Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator for the UGA Athletic Association is the envy of every former Lady Bulldog...as Andy Landers' boss.
Miller enters the LSU game 159 points shy of the current No. 21 tally of 1,396 points by Camille Lowe from 1989-93.
Lady Bulldogs hit "Magic Number"
Georgia has reached the 80-point plateau six times this season and, in the process, improved perhaps any sport's greatest statistical indicator other than scoring more points than your opposition.
The Lady Bulldogs are now 431-6 when putting up 80 or more points during Andy Landers' 35 seasons in Athens. That equates to an almost unfathomable winning percentage of 98.62700228833.
Georgia scored 80-plus points in three consecutive outings against Belmont, Kennesaw State and Lipscomb, a first since the first three games of the 2007-08 season.
Taking advantage of the charity
Although Georgia ranks last in the SEC and 327th in the nation in free throw percentage, the Lady Bulldogs have been much better at the line in their last seven-plus games.
With 1:46 remaining in its win over Arkansas, Georgia had made just 192-of-329 attempts at the charity stripe, just 58.4 percent. The Lady Bulldogs then hit 8-of-10 FTs in the final 106 seconds of a 60-58 win.
Beginning with that sequence through the last seven contests, the Lady Bulldogs are 89-of-126 at the line, a solid 70.6 percent.
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.
"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."
Turning defense into offense
Through 11 games, UGA possessed a +141 (+12.8 ppg) edge in points off TOs.
While losing five of its next six, opponents outpaced Georgia 118-91 (-4.5 ppg) in points from giveaways.
That was a 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 eight games, Georgia owns a 141-118 edge on points from TOs.
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 that severely limited her practice and playing time. An arthroscopic procedure last summer to "clean up" the knee has allowed Donald to fully display her vast skill set.
Donald entered the 2013-14 season with a career high of 22 minutes played against Appalachian State as a freshman.
This season, Donald has logged more minutes played than that 22 MP mark in 22 of 25 games, including 13 outings of 30-plus minutes, a 40-minute game at Florida and a career high 44 minutes at Texas A&M.
The MPG increase only begins to tell Donald's story. After averaging 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in 12.3 mpg her first two seasons, she is currently contributing 8.7 ppg and 6.9 rpg in 29.6 mpg 2013-14.
Donald reached double digits in just six of her first 55 games played in a Lady Bulldog uniform but has now done so in 10 of Georgia's last 18 games.
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 list five games later against S.C. State.
Barbee is one of the 23 freshmen to start their collegiate opener.
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