Georgia Completes Road Slate Against South Carolina
Feb. 26, 2014
Georgia completes road slate against South Carolina
Georgia wraps up the road portion of the 2013-14 schedule on Thursday evening with its biggest test to date, a trip to No. 4 South Carolina. The Lady Bulldogs and Gamecocks will tip off at Colonial Life Arena at 7:00 p.m.
Georgia arrives in Columbia at 18-9 overall and 6-8 in SEC play. Last Sunday, the Lady Bulldogs dropped a 67-59 decision at Auburn in a game that featured no less than 10 ties and 10 lead changes.
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 6-4 since then.
Shacobia Barbee paces a trio of guards averaging double figures for Georgia. Barbee actually leads UGA - average wise - in scoring (13.0 ppg), rebounding (8.3 rpg), assists (3.5 apg) and steals (an SEC-best 2.7 spg). Khaalidah Miller (11.0 ppg) and Erika Ford (10.8 ppg) also average double digits for UGA.
In SEC action, Barbee paces the Lady Bulldogs at 13.4 ppg and 8.1 rpg, while Ford (11.2) and Miller (10.6 ppg) are contributing double-figure scoring averages as well.
South Carolina clinched a share of its first-ever SEC Championship last Sunday with a 69-55 win over Florida that upped the Gamecocks to 25-2 overall and 13-1 in league action.
While guard Tiffany Mitchell leads South Carolina offensively at 15.3 ppg, the Gamecocks' post presence has played an equally important role in their ascension to the top of the SEC. Aleighsa Welch and Alaina Coates chip in double-digit scoring averages of 14.1 ppg and 12.1 ppg, respectively, while Elem Ibiam adds another 9.7 ppg. Coates comes off the bench to pull down a team-high 7.9 rpg.
Mitchell (15.6 ppg), Welch (14.0 ppg) and Coates (12.5 ppg) sport similar scoring averages against league competition.
Keeping an eye on...entering today's game:
Khaalidah Miller is...
Quoting Coach Landers...
On Facing South Carolina...
On Playing in Columbia...
Series History versus Carolina
Georgia leads the all-time series with the Gamecocks 32-7, including a 14-3 advantage in games contested in Columbia.
In the last meeting between UGA and USC on Jan. 13, 2013, in Athens, No. 13 Georgia outlasted No. 18 South Carolina, 42-40.
The Gamecocks took an early 8-2 lead, which ended up being the largest advantage either team held in the game. However, Georgia tied it at 10-10 two minutes later.
The beginning of the second period closely mirrored the start of the first as South Carolina executed a quick 4-0 spurt but the Lady Bulldogs answered with a brisk 4-0 surge and the teams matched each other basket-for-basket most of the rest of the way.
The Lady Bulldogs scored a quick four points with consecutive jumpers by Jasmine James and Hassell to push a one-point lead to 41-36 with 1:30 on the clock. South Carolina trimmed that to 41-40 before Hassell connected on a free throw to give the Lady Bulldogs a narrow 42-40 advantage with 18 seconds remaining.
As time ran out, South Carolina was unable to connect on a jumper that could have sent the game into overtime.
In the most recent match-up in Columbia on Feb. 16, 2012, Anne Marie Armstrong sank a pair of free throws with 4.8 seconds remaining to lift No. 18 Georgia past the Gamecocks in a 61-59 victory.
After South Carolina started the game with a trio of threes to go up 9-0, the Lady Bulldogs trimmed that to 31-29 at the half.
Georgia took its initial lead at 34-33 on a James 3-point play and gradually built that to a 44-37 edge.
South Carolina pulled within 52-50 with four minutes remaining, and then tied the game, 59-59, with 12 ticks left on the clock before Armstrong sank the game-winning free throws. The Gamecocks missed a potential game-winning trey at the buzzer.
Last Time out...
In a game featuring double-digit ties and lead changes, Auburn surged ahead in the final moments en route to a 67-59 victory over Georgia at Auburn Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Shacobia Barbee recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead Georgia.
The Tigers scored 34 points off of a season-high 24 turnovers by Georgia and converted on 24-of-31 attempts at the line.
A back-and-forth first half featured five ties and five lead changes. The Tigers' full-court press resulted in four early turnovers by the Lady Bulldogs as Auburn built an 8-3 edge.
Georgia grabbed its first lead at 18-17 on a Donald layup with 5:44 left in the half and pushed the margin to 20-17 on a Barbee stickback 43 seconds later. Brandy Montgomery, who scored Auburn's final 14 points of the first half, then hit a trio of 3-pointers in a span of 2:09 and scored on a layup at the 1:59 mark to put the Tigers up 28-24.
Donald scored the final five points of the period to put Georgia up 29-28 at the break.
The second stanza also featured five ties and five more changes.
Georgia enjoyed its largest lead at 44-39 with 9:54 left, but Auburn answered with a 10-0 run over the next 2:07 to flip the margin to 49-44. The Lady Bulldogs last led 50-49 following a Donald layup with 5:55 left. Auburn's Peyton Davis answered on Auburn's next possession and the Tigers outscored Georgia 18-9 the rest of the way.
Lowest scoring UGA victory...EVER
Last year's 42-40 win over South Carolina represented 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.
Barbee leads here, there, everywhere
Shacobia Barbee currently leads Georgia in average scoring (13.0 ppg), rebounding (8.3 rpg), assists (3.5 apg) and steals (an SEC-leading 2.7 spg).
Barbee is the only player in the Southeastern Conference who leads her team in ppg, rpg, apg and spg.
In fact, she is one of just eight NCAA Division I women's basketball players nationally entering this week to do so as outlined in the next column.
For the record - and to probably totally jinx any chance Barbee has to do so - no player has ever led the Lady Bulldogs in all four statistics for a season.
Ford on fire of late
Erika Ford is averaging 17.3 points per game over the Lady Bulldogs' last half-dozen outings...and she's done so in an extremely efficient fashion.
The Alpharetta, Ga., native has hit 48.8 percent of her field goals in those six games...considerably better than the 38.3 percent conversion rate she sported for the season when the stretch began.
Ford opened the series with a career-high 27 points at Mississippi State and has since scored 16 points against Ole Miss, nine at Texas A&M, 19 versus Florida, 20 against LSU and 13 at Auburn.
Ford was probably most impressive against LSU. She put half of her points against the Lady Tigers in the final 3:58 of the game, including four jumpers after LSU had cut Georgia's lead to a single possession during that span.
Games decided American Idol Style
One-third of Georgia's 27 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 four of its SEC road losses - at Vanderbilt, at Missouri, at Texas A&M and at Auburn.
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 Division I women's basketball, trailing only Tennessee (41st in 2013-14) and Green Bay (37th in 2013-14).
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 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 South Carolina game 141 points shy of the current No. 21 tally of 1,396 points by Camille Lowe and 142 from the No. 20 tally of 1,397 points by Lady Hardmon.
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 it ranks last in the SEC and 327th nationally in free throw percentage, Georgia has been much better at the line of late.
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 nine contests, the Lady Bulldogs are 110-of-159 at the line, a solid 69.2 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, Georgia possessed a +141 (+12.8 ppg) edge in points off turnovers.
While losing five of its next six, foes outpaced UGA 118-91 (-4.5 ppg) in points off TOs.
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 their next nine games, the Lady Bulldogs owned a modest 155-130 (+2.8 ppg) edge on points from giveaways before Auburn's massive 34-12 (+22) margin last Sunday.
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 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 began the year with a career high of 22 minutes versus Appalachian St, in 2011-12.
This season, Donald has logged more minutes played than that in 24 of 27 games, including 15 outings of 30-plus minutes, a 40-minute game at Florida and a career-high 44 MP 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 9.0 ppg and 6.7 rpg in 30.0 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 12 of Georgia's last 20 games.
Lady Bulldogs fall from polls
After being ranked as high as No. 16 by the AP and No. 15 in the USA Today polls in December, Georgia dropped out of both rankings on Jan. 13 after losing five of six games including the Lady Bulldogs' first four SEC dates.
That marked the first time the Lady Bulldogs were not ranked by the Associated Press since the final poll of the 2010-11 campaign, snapping a streak of 50 consecutive ranked weeks.
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 592 weekly AP polls, or 86.0 percent of those released.
Of those, Georgia was featured in the top-10 of 268 polls, 45.3 percent of the rankings released.
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.
Eight current Lady Bulldogs - Shacobia Barbee, Krista Donald, Erika Ford, Tiaria Griffin, Merritt Hempe, McCaskill, Khaalidah Miller and Washington - all started as freshmen. Barbee is one of the 23 freshmen to start their collegiate opener.
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