Georgia Continues Homestand Against Furman
Nov. 18, 2013
Georgia Continues Homestand
The Georgia Lady Bulldogs continue a busy six-game homestand to open the 2013-14 campaign on Tuesday evening when they host Furman at Stegeman Coliseum. The contest is Georgia's second in a 53-hour span and fourth since the season opener nine days ago.
To date, the Lady Bulldogs have shown solid improvement from game to game. After defeating Presbyterian 45-30 in the opener, four Lady Bulldogs reached double figures in a 72-41 win over Mercer, a 20-win team last season with four returning starters. Two days ago, Georgia topped Ohio State, a perennial NCAA Tournament participant.
The Starting Five
Keeping an eye on...entering today's game:
Khaalidah Miller is...
Furman is 1-2 on the young season, with a win over Brevard and road setbacks to Arkansas and UNC Asheville.
Holli Wiklins, younger sister of former Georgia men's player Damien Wilkins and niece of Bulldog great Dominique Wilkins, tops the Paladins offensively at 12.7 ppg. Brittany Hoddes paces the Paladins on the boards at 7.5 rpg.
Quoting Coach Landers...
On his team's performance against Mercer...
On his team's performance against Ohio State...
Series history with the Paladins
The Lady Bulldogs own a perfect 9-0 all-time record against Furman, including a quintet of victories over the Paladins in Athens.
Last season, four Lady Bulldogs posted double-digit scoring efforts as No. 8 Georgia topped Furman, 83-47, on Nov. 28 in Athens.
Furman started strong, racing to an 11-7 lead. Seconds later, a James jumper sparked a 16-2 Georgia run that put the Lady Bulldogs up 23-13.
With just under five minutes remaining in the first half, Merritt Hempe sank a baseline jumper to start a 14-4 Georgia run to end the period and put the Lady Bulldogs up 45-28 lead.
The Paladins opened the second period with a 7-2 run that decreased Georgia's lead to 12; however, the Lady Bulldogs used an 11-2 surge of their own to increase the lead to 58-37.
Last Time out...
Junior Krista Donald grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds to go along with 10 points, en route to leading No. 24 Georgia to a 53-49 win over Ohio State on Sunday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.
Erika Ford and Khaalidah Miller also scored in double figures for the Lady Bulldogs, with 13 points and 12 points, respectively. Starters Shacobia Barbee and Merritt Hempe chipped in with eight points apiece, while Barbee tallied five of Georgia's 10 total assists on the day.
"Ohio State is a talented team and a well-coached team," Andy Landers said. "It's not just about talent - they have the right pieces in the right places. They have size inside that is very capable. They have excellent play at the point, and they have excellent shooters around the perimeter. They're a tough proposition. It really was a great win...a gutty win."
The first 20 minutes proved to be a half or runs, as Ohio State opened the game with seven straight points before Georgia answered by reeling off 12-2 run over the next five minutes of play. The Buckeyes then knocked down three treys in a row, including back-to-back three-pointers from Ameryst Alston to take an 18-12 lead midway through the half. Ohio State eventually went to the locker room leading 33-29 at the intermission.
Georgia scored 11 straight points to start the second half and held Ohio State without a point in the second half until the 13:29 mark. Ohio State made it a one-posssession game three times thereafter but the Lady Bulldogs led the rest of the way.
Georgia held Ohio State to just 28 percent shooting from the floor.
Class reunion with a familiar name
Georgia's Kaelyn Causwell and Furman's Holli Wilkins were classmates at The Wesleyan School in Norcross, Ga., and helped the Lady Wolves to four straight Class A State Championships from 2009-12.
In addition, Wilkins is the younger sister or former Bulldog Damien Wilkins and the niece of Dominique Wilkins, who was dubbed the "Human Highlight Film" during his career at UGA and was the first former Bulldog inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Donald Has a super second half
"The second half, that's like All-American type stuff," Landers said. "That 20 minutes was really terrific. This kid fought her tail off. She battled supremely with much taller, longer people than she was and she won the battle.."
Donald hauled in 12 of her career-high 16 rebounds after intermission against the Buckeyes and was the catalyst behind Georgia turning a -6 rebounding margin at halftime into a +3 tally on the final box.
And she did so against stiff competition. Donald, who is 5-11, was competing against an Ohio State forward rotation that featured four players 6-2 or taller.
Barbee picks up where she left off
Shacobia Barbee capped 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 has picked up right where she left off.
The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native and christened her sophomore season with a 15-point, 15-rebound double-double against Mercer. She followed that with a team eight points, nine rebounds and team highs of five assists and two steals against Ohio State.
Dating back to last season, Barbee now has double-doubles three of her last eight outings (14 points and 10 boards against Cal in the "Elite Eight" and 11 points and 10 rebounds versus LSU in the SEC Tournament).
Barbee's 15 rebounds versus the Mercer bested her career-high of 12 boards in UGA's "Sweet 16" upset of No. 4 Stanford.
November 14 has a new name
Merritt Hempe scored a career-high 13 points against Mercer on Nov. 14, topping the previous mark of 11 she set last season against Presbyterian on...wait for it...Nov. 14.
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.
McCaskill Joins Freshman Starter list
Andy Landers continued his long-standing penchant for putting freshman starters on the floor in the opener against Presbyterian.
Sydnei McCaskill got 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 Miller began 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
Georgia signed a quartet of premier prospects - Jasmine Carter, Haley Clark, Mackenzie Engram and Nasheema Oliver - to national letters-of-intent on Nov. 13.
"I think overall this is a good class," head coach Andy Landers said. "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-75 overall prospects by four recruiting services - No. 38 by Prospect Nation, No. 41 by Blue Star, 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.
Now up to 502 weeks ranked
Since 1981-82, the Lady Bulldogs have been included in 502 of 578 polls, or 86.9 percent of those released. Georgia also has 268 top-10 appearances, 46.4 percent of polls in that span.
USA Today Likes 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 Landers said. "I'm concerned about this team creating its own identity. To this point, I'm very pleased with that development."
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 are looking 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. The percentages returning this season are below the column "2013-14".
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."
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