Khaalidah Miller is one of eight returning letterwinners but the only senior on Georgia's roster.
Sept. 30, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia Lady Bulldogs will open official practices to prepare for the 2013-14 season on Tuesday afternoon with a 2:30 p.m. workout in their practice gym adjacent to Stegeman Coliseum.
Monday, Sept. 30, was the first day the NCAA allows women's basketball teams to practice; however, the Lady Bulldogs opted to wait until Tuesday to get underway. NCAA rules provide 40 calendar days to conduct 30 practice days before the season begins.
The Lady Bulldogs return two starters – sophomores Shacobia Barbee and Tiaria Griffin – and six additional letterwinners – senior Khaalidah Miller; juniors Krista Donald and Erika Ford; and sophomores Marjorie Butler, Kaelyn Causwell and Merritt Hempe – from last year's team that posted a 28-7 record and ranked No. 10 in the final edition of the USA Today coaches' poll. Georgia finished third in the SEC and advanced to the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament.
Rounding out the roster of scholarship players are freshmen Samantha Glodis, Sydnei McCaskill and Halle Washington, as well as sophomore transfer Pachis Roberts. Roberts, who was the 2012 Miss Georgia Basketball while at McEachern High School in Powder Springs, transferred to Georgia during the summer after playing at Syracuse a year ago. Per NCAA regulations, she is eligible to practice but not play during the 2013-14 season.
Head coach Andy Landers begins his 35th season in Athens with a number of question marks. Primarily, the Lady Bulldogs will need to replace departed seniors and WNBA draft picks Anne Marie Armstrong, Jasmine Hassell and Jasmine James.
"I'm anxious, as anxious as I've been in a long time to get started," Landers said. "We have a lot of questions to answer relating to roles and our abilities. I'm anxious to get to some of those answers."
Landers is pleased with the initial signs surrounding this team but knows practices take preparations to a different level.
"The conditioning piece, the workout piece has gone well," Landers said. "In fact, this is a team that has probably played as much pick-up as I can remember in recent years. They've prepared themselves well for what's in front of them.
"There are a lot of questions that you can't get answers to until you go through the rigors and mental demands of practice," Landers added. "It's one thing to condition or play pick-up for an hour. It's another thing to practice for two and a half hours day after day after day."
After several seasons with the majority of his starting five relatively set entering the preseason, Landers is eager to see how this team rounds into form.
"Normally, you go into (practices) with some idea as to how you want to play," Landers said. "But when you go into practice with so many young players – and having lost three, critical players to graduation – you're a little bit more open-minded about that. You don't set those thoughts in concrete but rather you're open to the changes that you might need to make that are driven by experience/inexperience or personnel."
Georgia's season opener is slated for Sunday, Nov. 10 at Stegeman Coliseum against Presbyterian at 2:00 p.m. Season tickets are just $40 and are on sale now via georgiadogs.com, by calling 877-542-1231 or in person at the UGA Ticket Office in the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall from 8:30 a.m. though 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.