Nov. 16, 2013
A Little Dose of the Madness
The bracket for the NCAA Tournament won't be released until four months from this Sunday (March 17), but basketball fans who don't want to wait to witness "March Madness" can get a little dose of that atmosphere Sunday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum. No. 24 Georgia hosts Ohio State at 2:00 p.m. in a match-up of perennial postseason participants.
The Lady Bulldogs rank second nationally in NCAA Tourney bids with 30, while the Buckeyes possess invitations to 21 of 32 editions of the "Big Dance" since women's basketball came under the auspices of the NCAA prior to the 1981-82 campaign.
Both programs also sport rich histories in two of the premier conferences in the country. The Lady Bulldogs have captured seven Southeastern Conference Championships and won four SEC Tournament titles. Ohio State owns 13 Big Ten Championships, including an unprecendented six straight from 2005-2010.
Georgia is off to a 2-0 start in 2013-14. The Lady Bulldogs dispatched Presbyterian 45-30 in the season opener, just the fourth time in Andy Landers'then-1202 games coached at UGA that the Lady Bulldogs scored less than 50 points and won. Georgia was much more impressive in a 72-41 win over Mercer, a 20-win team a year ago with four returning starters.
Ohio State is 3-0, with wins at West Virginia and at home over Florida Atlantic and VCU.
The Buckeyes also feature a quartet of double-digit scorers. Ameryst Alson is averaging 23.7 ppg, Cait Craft is at 17.7 ppg, Ashley Adams is at 14.0 ppg and Darryce Moore is at 11.0 ppg. In addition, Raven Ferguson, a starter who averaged 6.3 ppg a year ago, is expected to return from a three-game suspension and see her first action of the season against UGA.
The Starting Five
- UGA is 6-2 all-time against Ohio State, including a 1-1 mark in Athens
- UGA last faced Ohio State in Athens in the season opener of the Lady Bulldogs' 1995 Final Four campaign
- UGA is 25-9 versus teams currently comprising in the Big Ten Conference
- UGA and OSU have a combined 51 NCAA Tournament appearances...out of a potential 64 all-time bids
- Merritt Hempe scored a career-high 13 points against Mercer on Thursday (Nov. 14)...a year to the day after she established her previous high of 11 points versus Presbyterian
|Georgia Lady Bulldogs||Ohio State Buckeyes|
|1||Khaalidah Miller||10.0||9.0||G||14||Ameryst Alston||23.7||3.0|
|(5-9; Sr.; Atlanta, Ga.)||(5-9; Soph.; Canton, Ohio)|
|31||Erika Ford||10.5||5.0||G||13||Cait Craft||17.7||4.0|
|(5-9; Jr.; Atlanta, Ga.)||(5-8; Soph.; Findlay, Ohio)|
|20||Shacobia Barbee||15.0||15.0||G||25||Amy Scullion||4.3||7.7|
|(5-10; Soph.; Murfreesboro, Tenn.)||(6-0; R-Jr.; Salem, Ohio)|
|15||Krista Donald||7.5||7.5||F||22||Darryce Moore||11.0||7.0|
|(5-11; Jr.; Lake, Miss.)||(6-2; Sr.; Youngstown, Ohio)|
|13||Merritt Hempe||11.5||5.0||F||33||Ashley Adams||14.0||8.3|
|(6-2; So.; Fredericksburg, Va.)||(6-5; Sr.; Siloam Springs, Ark.)|
Quoting Coach Landers
On facing Ohio State..."In Ohio State, you're talking about the team that wins the Big Ten Championship it seems like year after year after year. They always have good players, and they understand how to win big games. You've got a Big Ten-Southeastern Conference match-up that should be a good one."
On his team's performance against Mercer...
"The best thing about tonight is that it looked like they had fun. They looked like they enjoyed the way they were playing, the style they were playing and they looked like they enjoyed the give and take between each other - the sharing of the ball...the passing...the catching. They just looked like they were a basketball team having fun and that was the best part about tonight."
Series history vs. The Buckeyes
The Lady Bulldogs own a 6-2 advantage in their series with Ohio State, including a 1-1 record in games played in Athens.
Georgia and Ohio State will be meeting for the first time in just over 14 years. The Lady Bulldogs last faced the Buckeyes on Dec. 19, 1999, in the opening round of The Beach Classic at Long Beach State.
Deana "Tweety" Nolan's 25 points paced No. 5 Georgia en route to a 91-59 win. Nolan was 10-of-12 from the floor, with one of those misses coming on a failed dunk attempt. Coco Miller added 15 points, Tawana McDonald chipped in a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds and Kelly Miller notched 11 points.
The 1999-2000 Lady Bulldogs featured no less than six future WNBA players. McDonald, both Millers and Nolan went on to become first-round draft picks. Two more players - Angie Ball and Kiesha Brown - went on to earn roster spots as undrafted free agents.
The last meeting in Athens on Nov. 25, 1994, served as the season opener for UGA's 1995 Final Four squad. No. 18 Georgia captured a 79-70 win behind 26 points from Tracy Henderson, 19 from La'Keshia Frett, 13 from Kedra Holland and 11 from Saudia Roundtree.
All four of those Lady Bulldogs went on to become first-round draft picks in the ABL. Frett, Henderson and Holland also played in the WNBA, while Roundtree, the 1996 National Player of the Year, had her pro career cut short by a knee injury.
Last Time out...
Sophomore Shacobia Barbeerecorded her fourth career double-double and first of the season with 15 points and 15 rebounds to lead No. 24 Georgia to a 72-41 victory over Mercer on Thursday evening at Stegeman Coliseum.
The 15 rebounds for Barbee marked a career high, as she surpassed her previous top mark of 12 recorded last season in the NCAA Tournament against Stanford. Three additional Lady Bulldogs scored in double figures, led by Erika Ford with 15 points and Merritt Hempe and Khaalidah Millerwith 13 points apiece.
The Lady Bulldogs used a 24-2, including 17 straight, to build a 33-11 lead.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the second period on a 14-5 run which was highlighted by eight points from Ford.
Georgia held Mercer to just 23 percent shooting from the field for the game. The Lady Bulldogs held a 46-8 advantage in points in the paint while shooting 38 percent from the floor.
November 14 has a new name
Merritt Hempescored a career-high 13 points against Mercer on Thursday, which was Nov. 14, 2013. That topped the previous mark of 11 points she established against Presbyterian on...wait for it...Nov. 14, 2012.
Unofficially, Nov. 14 is now known within Lady Bulldog circles as "Hem-pee DAY!"...spoken with the same tone and emphasis as the camel in the popular television commerical pertaining to Wednesdays.
Barbee picks up where she left off
Shacobia Barbeecapped a stellar freshman season - in which she was named to the SEC's All-Freshman and All-Defensive teams - with a spectacular postseason run.
After missing the season opener, Barbee picked up where she left off and christened her sophomore season with a 15-point, 15-rebound double-double against Mercer on Thursday.
Dating back to last season, Barbee now has double-doubles in back-to-back games (14 points and 10 boards against Cal in the "Elite Eight"). She also has three double-doubles in her last seven games played (11 points and 10 rebounds against LSU in the opening round of the SEC Tournament).
Barbee's 15 rebounds versus the Bears bested her career-high of 12 boards in UGA's "Sweet 16" upset of No. 4 Stanford.
Lady Bulldogs against the Big Ten
Georgia 25-9 all-time against the teams that currently comprise the Big Ten Conference.
In addition to the 6-2 mark against the Buckeyes, Georgia is: 2-2 vs. Illinois, 3-0 vs. Indiana, 3-2 vs. Iowa, 3-1 vs. Michigan State, 1-0 vs. Minnesota, 2-0 vs. Nebraska, 1-0 vs. Northwestern, 2-0 vs. Penn State, 1-1 vs. Purdue and 1-1 vs. Wisconsin.
McCaskill Joins Freshman Starter list
Andy Landerscontinued his long-standing penchant for putting freshman starters on the floor in the opener against Presbyterian.
Sydnei McCaskillgot the nod to become the 73rd freshman to start for the Lady Bulldogs during Landers' 35 seasons in Athens and the 23rd to do so in her collegiate debut. McCaskill not only started but played all 40 minutes.
"I thought Sydnei looked comfortable, especially in the second half," Landers said. "She might have been a little bit tight to start the game but she should've been. The longer she played, the more comfortable and confident she looked in what we were doing."
Six current Lady Bulldogs - senior Khaalidah Miller; juniors Erika Ford and Krista Donald; and sophomores Shacobia Barbee, Tiaria Griffin and Merritt Hempe- all started as freshmen. Barbee is one of the 23 to start an opener.
Miller equals three career marks
Senior Khaalidah Millerbegan her final collegiate campaign with a solid outing, equaling a trio of her career-high performances.
Miller hauled in 11 rebounds against Presbyterian, tying the tally she collected against both Ole Miss on Jan. 22, 2012 and Appalachian State on Dec. 22, 2011. Miller also matched her career high with six assists, her same number of baskets-to-be against South Carolina on Feb. 16, 2012
In addition, Miller tied her career high with 40 minutes played, the 13th time in her career at Georgia that she has logged that many MP.
Lady Bulldogs Ink Four signees
The Georgia Lady Bulldogs signed a quartet of premier prep prospects - Jasmine Carter, Haley Clark, Mackenzie Engram and Nasheema Oliver - to national letters-of-intent to play basketball collegiately for the University of Georgia on Nov. 13, the first day of the NCAA's weeklong early signing period.
"I think overall this is a good class," head coach Andy Landerssaid. "We were able to sign the positions that we needed to sign. I think we've helped ourselves on both the front line and the backcourt. There's size. There's speed. There's quickness. Generally speaking, our objectives are met with this class, and I think it fits very well with the team that we will have returning next season."
Carter is a 5-8 guard from Dacula, Ga., and Atlanta's St. Pius X Catholic High School. She has been rated as one of the nation's top-20 shooting guards by both ESPN Hoopgurlz (No. 18) and Prospect Nation (No. 20).
Clark is a 5-9 point guard and a four-year starter at Edgewater High School in Orlando, Fla. She is ranked as the No. 24 point guard in the Class of 2014 by ESPN Hoopgurlz.
Engram is a 6-2 forward from Powder Springs, Ga., and Hillgrove High School. She is ranked as one of the nation's top-50 overall prospects by two recruiting services - No. 38 by Prospect Nation and No. 41 by Blue Star- and a top-75 prospect by two more - No. 71 by ESPN Hoopgurlz and No. 72 by the Girls Basketball Report.
Oliver is a 6-3 forward from Crisp County High School in Cordele, Ga. She is listed as the No. 18 prospect in the nation by Blue Star, as well as No. 37 by Prospect Nation, No. 58 by ESPN Hoopgurlz and No. 59 by the Girls Basketball Report.
UGA Ranked by AP for 500th Time
Georgia was ranked No. 24 team in the preseason edition of the Associated Press poll, the 500th AP poll appearance all-time for both UGA 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 1981-82 preseason, the first season women's basketball came under the auspices of the NCAA and the sixth season the AP compiled a women's hoops weekly poll.
Despite a five-year gap prior to the first ranking, Georgia and Landers now rank No. 2 in all-time appearances by a program and a coach.
Since 1981-82, the Lady Bulldogs have been included in 501 of 577 polls, or 86.8 percent of those released. Georgia also has 268 top-10 appearances, 46.4 percent of polls in that span.
USA Today like UGA a little more
Georgia No. 22 in the preseason USA Today coaches poll released on Oct. 29. In addition, Athlon and Lindy's tabbed UGA No. 14 and No. 19, respectively, in their preseason rankings.
"I'm not the least bit concerned with preseason polls," Andy Landerssaid. "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 under "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 below under "2013-14" below.
What's returning statistically
|Field Goals Attempted||85.7||53.4|
|3-Point Field Goals||88.4||82.2|
|3-Point Field Goal Attempts||87.0||80.3|
|Free Throw Attempts||84.0||48.4|
Butler, Griffin to Miss action
"We have expectations of all of our players," Andy Landerssaid. "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 continued their stellar run in season openers.
Georgia has christened 12 of the past 13 seasons with a victory, losing only to defending national champion Baylor in the opener for the 2005-06 campaign. The Lady Bulldogs are 30-5 in openers during Andy Landers' tenure.