SEC Tourney 2nd Round, Thursday - #9 Seed Georgia vs #8 Seed Vanderbilt
March 5, 2014
Georgia Opens SEC Tourney Play
The Georgia Lady Bulldogs begin postseason competition at noon on Thursday when they face Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference Tournament at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. SportSouth will televise the match-up, with Dave Neal calling play-by-play and LaChina Robinson serving as the color analyst.
Ninth-seeded UGA and eighth-seeded VU were among five teams that tied for sixth place in the SEC standings. Georgia is 19-10 overall, while the Commodores are 18-11. Both teams finished 7-9 in conference play.
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 7-5 since, including victories over No. 13 Kentucky and No. 19 LSU.
Shacobia Barbee paces a trio of guards averaging double figures for Georgia. Barbee actually leads UGA - average wise - in scoring (12.9 ppg), rebounding (8.2 rpg), assists (3.4 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 paced the Lady Bulldogs at 13.2 ppg and 8.0 rpg,while Ford (11.1 ppg) and Miller (10.7 ppg) contributed double-figure scoring averages as well.
Vanderbilt raced to 16-3 overall start and a 5-1 mark in league action before dropping eight of its last 10 outings. The Commodores were ranked No. 16 prior to that stretch.
Senior Christina Foggie leads the league in scoring at 19.1 ppg, while classmate Jasmine Lister adds 14.2 ppg. Morgan Batey is Vanderbilt's top rebounder at 5.3 rpg.
Against SEC competition, Foggie and Lister put up 19.3 ppg and 13.5 ppg, respectively, while Batey upped her average to 5.9 rpg.
Keeping an eye on...entering today's game:
Khaalidah Miller is...
Quoting Coach Landers...
On beginning postseason play...
On facing Vanderbilt a 2nd time...
On the 5-way tie in the SEC standings...
UGA's SEC Tourney History
Georgia has won four SEC Tournament titles, doing so in 1983, 1984, 1986 and 2001.
The Lady Bulldogs are a No. 9 seed for just the second time. Georgia also was the No. 9 seed for the 2002 SEC Tournament in Nashville. That year, the Lady Bulldogs defeated No. 8 seed Alabama in the first round before falling to top-seeded Tennessee in the quarterfinals.
UGA's record versus each league school in SEC Tournament play can be found below.
Lady Bulldogs in the SEC Tourney
Series History versus Vanderbilt
In both teams' league opener on Jan. 2 this season, Jasmine Lister scored 24 points to lead Vanderbilt to a 66-58 upset over No. 19 Georgia at Memorial Gym in Nashville.
Vanderbilt was up 33-29 with 16:54 left when the Lady Bulldogs gained momentum with a 15-4 run. The Commodores called time out after Georgia went up 44-37 on a Donald layup with 11:35 remaining.
A Christina Foggie jumper when play resumed ignited a 16-5 run by Vanderbilt to gain control. Lister scored half of her points during the surge.
In the most recent meeting in SEC Tournament play, Angel Robinson scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed a season-best 16 rebounds, but No. 22 Vanderbilt still defeated Georgia, 69-61, in the quarterfinals of the 2009 tourney in North Little Rock, Ark.
The Commodores built a 14-point lead in the first half, and held off Georgia throughout the second stanza. The Lady Bulldogs pulled within one twice, but Vanderbilt answered each occasion with a 3-pointer.
The Lady Bulldogs trailed by 10 at the half but scored the first six points of the second stanza and eventually cut the lead to 41-40 with 11:28 remaining. Tia Gibbs hit a 3-pointer and the Commodores regained a nine-point advantage moments later.
Georgia again rallied to close the gap to 62-61 with just over a minute left, but Meredith Marsh knocked down a 3 and the Commodores ended the contest on a 7-0 run.
Last Time out...
The Atlanta native scored 18 points, including 13 in the first half, and was joined in double digits by Merritt Hempe, whose 22 points led all scorers and was a career-high.
Miller appeared set to enjoy her final appearance in Stegeman Coliseum, scoring five points in a 13-0 that put the Lady Bulldogs up 13-2. The lead quickly reached 20 points at 26-6 with 9:37 left in the half.
Georgia's largest lead of the game came at 75-40 with 4:52 left.
In search of 20-win season
Georgia has reached the 20-win marker during 10 of the past 11 seasons and 14 of the last 16 campaigns.
Landers' current tally of 28 20-win campaigns ranks fifth all-time among Division I head coaches...and third among active coaches. Pat Summitt tops that ledger with 36 20-win teams followed by C. Vivian Stringer (33rd this season), Sylvia Hatchell (30th this season) and Jody Conradt (29).
Barbee earns SEC accolades
"Both of 'Cobi's' honors are well deserved," Andy Landers said. "It's quite a statement on her behalf that she's the only player in the Southeastern Conference who leads her team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. That she has been so productive on the offensive end as a playmaker and a scorer, and that she has earned a spot on the All-Defensive team, is a testament to the completeness of her game."
Barbee leads the league and is No. 21 nationally in steals. She ranks among the SEC's individual statistical leaders in seven of 13 categories kept - No. 1 in steals, No. 6 in rebounds, No. 7 in assist-to-turnover ratio, No. 7 in defensive rebounds, No. 11 in offensive rebounds, No. 12 in assists and No. 21 in points.
Last season, Barbee was named to the SEC's All-Freshman and All-Defensive teams. She also became the first Lady Bulldog freshman to secure All-Regional honors during the NCAA Tournament since Teresa Edwards in 1983.
Vanderbilt's roster includes Peach State natives Morgan Batey (Atlanta), Jasmine Jenkins (Gainesville) and Kylee Smith (Alpharetta).
Barbee and Butler combined to secure three Miss Tennessee Basketball titles.
Barbee was the Class AAA honoree as both a junior in 2011 and a senior at Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro.
Butler, a Knoxville native who starred at The Webb School, was Miss Tennessee for Division II-Class A as a junior in 2011 but missed the vast majority of her senior campaign due to a knee injury.
Games decided American Idol Style
Nine of Georgia's 28 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, versus Furman, at Georgia State, at Florida and against 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 enters the regular-season finale against Mississippi State 137 points shy of the current No. 21 tally of 1,396 points by Camille Lowe and 138 from the No. 20 tally of 1,397 points by Lady Hardmon.
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.
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 25 of 28 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 8.9 ppg and 6.7 rpg in 29.8 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 21 games.
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 333rd (of 343) nationally in free throw percentage, the Lady Bulldogs have been much better at the line of late.
With 1:46 remaining in its win over Arkansas on Jan. 16, 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 to preserve a 60-58 win over the Razorbacks.
Beginning with that sequence and continuing through the last 10 contests, the Lady Bulldogs are 118-of-175 at the line, a much more respectable 67.4 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 the next nine games, the Lady Bulldogs owned a 155-130 (+2.8 ppg) edge before Auburn's massive 34-12 (+22) margin last Sunday.
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.
Barbee is one of the 23 freshmen to start their collegiate opener.
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