Lady Bulldogs Tip Off 2013-14 Season Sunday Against Presbyterian
Nov. 9, 2013
Lady Bulldogs open 2013-14 season
The Georgia Lady Bulldogs will christen their 2013-14 campaign on Sunday afternoon when they host the Presbyterian Blue Hose at Stegeman Colisuem in a 2:00 p.m. matinee. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive free Georgia Basketball t-shirts.
Georgia has been ranked No. 22 and No. 24 in the preseason editions of the USA Today coaches and Associated Press top-25 polls.
Head coach Andy Landers welcomes back eight letterwinners - including four with significant starting experience and two more with big-game minutes under their belts - from last year's team that finished 28-7 and reached the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament.
Khaalidah Miller, the team's lone senior, is the Lady Bulldogs' returning leading scorer, both overall (7.6 ppg) and in SEC play (8.1 ppg).
Presbyterian's roster also features a octet of returning letterwinners. The Blue Hose finished last season with a 19-12 record, including a 14-4 mark in Big South Conference play that tied for second in the league's standings.
Senior Karlee Taylor is Prebyterian's lone starter who is back. She averaged 11.0 ppg (second-best on the team) in 2012-13.
Quoting Coach Landers
On his expectations for the season opener...
On the eight returning letterwinners...
On the four freshmen...
Series history vs. Presbyterian
The Lady Bulldogs 4-0 all-time against Presbyterian, including a trio of victories at Stegeman Coliseum.
A year ago, Jasmine Hassell scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 66-38 victory over the Blue Hose. Merritt Hempe chipped in 11 points, six rebounds, three blocks, three steals and a pair of assists.
A pair of Hassell free throws ignited an 8-0 surge that allowed Georgia to double up the score at 26-13 and the Lady Bulldogs pretty much cruised thereafter.
Historic value of first pc win
The first matchup in the series between Georgia and Presbyterian holds a little historical significance for Lady Bulldog Basketball.
Georgia's Feb. 20, 1979, win over Presbyterian was the last game - and win - for UGA prior to the hiring of Andy Landers as the University of Georgia's first full-time women's basketball head coach.
Georgia wrapped up the 1978-79 season with a 62-46 victory over the Lady Blue Hose. Two months and four days later - April 24 to be exact - newly appointed UGA Director of Athletics Vince Dooley made Landers his first head coaching hire, largely on the recommendation of Liz Murphey, Georgia's legendary SWA and women's golf coach.
UGA RAnked by AP for 500th Time
Georgia was ranked No. 24 team in the preseason edition of the Associated Press women's basketball poll released on Nov. 1.
That inclusion represents the 500th all-time appearance in an AP poll for both the Lady Bulldogs and Andy Landers.
"Five-hundred is a big number," Landers said. "I think I'm most proud of the consistency that we've been able to maintain and the high level of play that has led to us being considered worthy of AP ranking all those times. Our university, our athletic administration, our staff, our players and everyone associated with our program - and this year's team is no different - have committed themselves to competing at the highest level. To be recognized as one of the top teams in the country basically week after week after week for 30-plus years is certainly a reward for all that hard work and commitment."
The Lady Bulldogs first appeared in the AP poll in the preseason rankings prior to the 1981-82 season, Landers' third season in Athens and the first year that women's basketball came under the auspices of the NCAA. That also was the sixth season the AP compiled a women's basketball weekly poll.
Despite a five-year gap prior to its first inclusion in a poll, Georgia and Landers now rank No. 2 in all-time weekly appearances by a program and a head coach.
Since the beginning 1981-82, the Lady Bulldogs have been included in 500 of 576 polls, or 86.8 percent of the rankings released.
Georgia also has posted 268 top-10 appearances, 46.5 percent of all AP polls during that same span.
USA Today Likes UGA a little more
The Lady Bulldogs were tabbed No. 22 in the preseason edition of the USA Today poll coaches released on Oct. 29. Georgia has been included all 22 editions of the USA Today rankings.
Georgia was featured in two more polls by preseason publications. Athlon tabbed the Lady Bulldogs No. 14 in its top-25 rankings, while Lindy's placed UGA at No. 19.
"I'm not the least bit concerned with preseason polls," Andy Landers said. "I'm concerned about this team creating its own identity. To this point, I'm very pleased with that development."
Georgia was one of six Southeastern Conference teams in the USA Today poll. Tennessee was No. 4, with Kentucky at No. 8, Texas A&M at No. 13, LSU at No. 17, South Carolina at No. 21 and the Lady Bulldogs at No. 22.
"I think Tennessee and Kentucky are the most talented and LSU is the most experienced," Landers stated. " Then, I think you have 11 more teams that are really, really good. It will be a very interesting year for the Southeastern Conference."
Wanted: stat sheet stuffers
A year ago, the Lady Bulldogs returned all but two players - Meredith Mitchell (their first-year Director of Basketball Operations) and walk-on Brittany Crews - from the 2011-12 roster. Georgia's percentage of returning statistics was relatively massive as outlined below in the "2012-13" column.
The difference in returning percentages couldn't be more polar opposite for the 2013-14 season. After losing five seniors - including WNBA players Anne Marie Armstrong, Jasmine Hassell and Jasmine James - the Lady Bulldogs will look to replace more than 40 percent of their production in every category imaginable other than shots taken and made from behind the 3-point arc. Those percentages returning are under "2013-14" below.
What's returning statistically
Butler, Griffin to Miss action
"We have expectations of all of our players," Andy Landers said. "In this regard, Marjorie and Tiaria have come up short. Certainly games are important to all of us involved with Georgia Basketball, but not more important than living up to the standards that we've established for more than 30 years. That foundation has always been a vital part of our success."
Lady Bulldogs solid in Openers
The Lady Bulldogs are looking to continue their stellar run in season openers...and even more impressive mark in initial outings at Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia has christened 11 of the past 12 seasons with a victory, losing only to defending national champion Baylor in the opener for the 2005-06 campaign at the State Farm Tipoff Classic in Lubbock, Texas.
The Lady Bulldogs are 29-5 in openers during Andy Landers' tenure, with four of those setbacks coming to ranked foes.
All told, UGA has compiled a 31-9 record in season openers in its 40 seasons of intercollegiate women's basketball competition dating back to the 1973-74 campaign.
Solid at stegeman as well
Moving from "openers" to "home openers" - UGA's first game at home whether that be the first contest or the first Stegeman date following a road contest - Georgia has won 21 straight such outings.
The Lady Bulldogs' last loss in their first home game was to No. 7 Stanford 22 seasons ago on Nov. 22, 1991. Georgia has lost its home opener only twice during Andy Landers' 34 seasons at UGA, the other coming to No. 3 Texas on Nov. 26, 1984.
Freshman sorority to Grow?
Andy Landers has long displayed a penchant for putting freshmen on the floor.
All told, 72 freshmen have started for Georgia during Landers' 34 seasons in Athens, including 22 who got the nod for their collegiate debut.
"I think it's about putting the five people on the floor who play best together, regardless of what class they are," Landers said.
Six current Lady Bulldogs - senior Khaalidah Miller; juniors Erika Ford and Krista Donald; and sophomores Shacobia Barbee, Tiaria Griffin and Merritt Hemp - all started as freshmen. Barbee is one of the 22 to start an opener.
Make it 31 of 32 years for AP poll
The Lady Bulldogs were ranked No. 24 in the preseason edition of the AP. Georgia has now been ranked by the AP to open 31 of 32 seasons in women's basketball's "Modern Era" since the NCAA began managing women's athletics. That span includes 22 top-10 appearances.
Georgia picked 6th, 7th in SEC
Separate balloting of media (a national and regional panel) and coaches predicted Georgia to finish sixth and seventh, respectively, in the SEC during the 2013-14 season as outlined in the next column.
In addition, sophomore Shacobia Barbee was a second-team All-SEC pick of the league coaches. Barbee was voted to both the All-Freshman and All-Defensive teams by SEC coaches last season.
SEC Preseason Predictions
Tube Time On the way
Georgia has been one of the nation's most televised teams over the past three decades. This season is no different.
A dozen regular-season games will be televised - 10 of 16 SEC dates and two non-conference games.
All told, the Lady Bulldogs have appeared on TV nearly 400 times over the past 30 seasons. The 2013-14 season will mark the 16th straight campaign with double-digit television contests. Georgia has had 230 TV outings over that span, an average of more than 15 per season.
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