Lady Bulldogs Host Mercer Tuesday Night
Dec. 3, 2012
Lady Bulldogs Trek to TechGeorgia's Lady Bulldogs have been the nation's busiest basketball team during 2012-13. The Lady Bulldogs return to Stegeman Coliseum Tuesday to host Mercer at 7 p.m., Georgia's 10th contest since opening the season on Nov. 11.
A win would not only give UGA its eighth 10-0 start ever, it also would make the Lady Bulldogs the first team in the nation to reach double digits in the win column this season.
The biggest story line to date, however, has been the Lady Bulldogs' depth. A year ago, four Georgia players averaged more than 30 mpg and five different Lady Bulldogs combined to notch 25 40-minute outings.
This season, nine Lady Bulldogs are averaging between 16.0 and 24.4 minutes per game and James' 33 minutes against Rutgers is the most PT by a Georgia player this season.
Former Lady Bulldog Susie Gardner is in her third season at Mercer. The Bears sport a solid 4-2 record to date, an even more impressive mark considering preseason injuries took away the two leading scorers from last season - Briana Williams (17.5 ppg) and Ry'van Buchanan (10.8). Two additional losses further depleted what was expected to be a deep bench.
Still, Mercer's lineup sports four double-digit scoring averages - Precious Bridges (16.7 ppg), Kendra Grant (12.7), Tabitha Bradshaw (11.2) and Alicia Williams (10.0).
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Andy Landers
#Assists Per Game
Keeping an eye on...Entering the Georgia Tech game:
Andy Landers is...
Series history vs. da Bears
Georgia owns a 17-12 lead in its all-time series with Mercer, including a 9-5 mark in Athens. Mercer's dozen wins over UGA represent the most of any in-state school; however, most of those came pre-Andy Landers.
Mercer was a national power back in the 1970s when the "Teddy Bears" were relative regulars in the Associated Press poll. Mercer compiled an 11-1 record against Georgia from 1974-79.
Since Landers became the Lady Bulldogs' head coach in the fall of 1979, Georgia has compiled a 16-1 record against Mercer. The lone setback came during Landers' initial campaign in Athens.
Last season in Macon, Jasmine Hassell scored a game-high 16 points to lead No. 14 Georgia to an 80-43 victory. Khaalidah Miller added 15 points, 11 in the first half, and Anne Marie Armstrong chipped in 12.
Mercer grabbed an early lead and maintained an advantage until a Meredith Mitchell lay-up put Georgia up 15-14 with 9:11 remaining in the half. That bucket helped ignite a 17-2 Lady Bulldog surge that put Georgia up 29-16 at the 4:21 mark.
In the most recent matchup in Stegeman Coliseum on Dec. 7, 2010, Miller's 16 points led five Lady Bulldogs in double figures in a 92-45 victory. Mitchell and Porsha Phillips chipped in 13, Tamika Willis added 11 and Armstrong contributed 10.
Last time out...
Jasmine Hassell poured in 22 points while connecting on 10-of-13 shots from the floor to lead No. 8 Georgia to a 60-50 win over Georgia Tech in the first-ever meeting in the Yellow Jackets' new McCamish Pavilion on Sunday.
Hassell's effort followed a 24-point, 9-of-10 shooting day against the Yellow Jackets in Athens last season.
"Hassell was just fantastic," Andy Landers said. "What she's done against Tech the past two seasons...wow!"
The Lady Bulldogs built a double-digit lead midway through the first half and maintained similar distance for most of the rest of the contest.
Georgia led by 18 twice the second half and was up 52-36 with 3:56 left before Tech quickly closed the gap to 54-46 with 1:51 on the clock.
Hassell converted an easy bucket with a minute remaining and Miller then connected on four free throws in the final 32 seconds to ice the victory.
A familiar face leads Mercer
Mercer head coach Susie Gardner was a four-year letterwinner on some of the greatest Georgia teams ever in the mid-80s.
Gardner was a guard on Lady Bulldog squads that compiled a 116-17 record, won the 1983, 1984 and 1986 SEC titles, reached the 1983 Final Four and was 1985 NCAA runner-up.
Gardner scored 485 points, dished out 110 assists and collected 78 steals in 92 games played for Georgia from 1982-86. That scoring tally most definitely would have been higher if she played with the three-point arc on the floor. Gardner, who Andy Landers calls one of the Lady Bulldogs' greatest pure shooters ever, hit 47.7 percent of her FGs...a large majority of those from long-range.
Historic victory versus Mercer
One of the most significant victories in the Lady Bulldogs' storied history was an 87-85 overtime win against Mercer secured on Jan. 12, 1980.
That win represented Georgia's first-ever victory over a ranked opponent. Mercer entered the contest at No. 21 in that week's Associated Press poll.
Two players who followed Andy Landers from Roane State Community College to Athens led the Lady Bulldogs. Bernadette Locke scored 19 points and Teresa Duncan chipped in 15, including the game-winning lay-up with one second remaining in OT.
A Westlake reunion
Georgia's Tamika Willis and Mercer's Sharnea Boykin played together for three seasons at Westlake High.
Willis and Boykin helped the Lady Lions compile a stellar 75-8 record from 2006-09, including trips to the state semifinals in 2008 and the quarterfinals in both 2007 and 2009.
Lady Bulldogs hit "magic number"
Georgia has furthered one of the greatest statistical indicators in any sport three times this season. The Lady Bulldogs put up 80 or more points against Savannah State, St. Bonaventure and Furman...and in the process improved to 422-6 when reaching the 80-point plateau under Andy Landers.
That converts to an almost unfathomable winning percentage of .985981308.
It also highlights the fact that Georgia has scored more than 80 points in over 50 percent of Landers' victories with the Lady Bulldogs.
James climbs list...more to come
Jasmine James climbed four positions - from No. 30 to No. 26 - among the Lady Bulldogs' career scoring leaders in a three-game span.
With a season-high 18 points against Savannah State, James moved ahead of Kara Braxton at No. 29.
During the victory over New Mexico, James' 17 points leapfrogged her over No. 28 Pam Irwin-Osbolt, No. 27 Carla Green and No. 26 Cynthia Collins.
James now has 1,148 points, nine from current No. 25 Alexis Kendrick.
Playing time being distributed
A year ago, six Lady Bulldogs averaged between 20.0 and 34.5 minutes per game. All told, five different players logged all 40 minutes of a game a combined 25 times.
This season, the Lady Bulldogs' new-found depth - largely due to the addition of five freshmen - is allowing more equal distribution of playing time.
Nine Georgia players are averaging between 16.0 and 24.4 minutes played. Jasmine James leads the Lady Bulldogs in minutes played. By contrast, James played 24 minutes or more in 86 of 91 games played during her first three seasons at UGA.
Freshmen garnering PT
Georgia's quartet of freshmen has logged significant minutes for the Lady Bulldogs from the get-go.
Freshmen have played 738 minutes during 2012-13, accounting for 41.0 percent of UGA's total playing time.
"We have a freshman class that's going to be able to help us; there's no question about that," Landers said following the season opener against Rutgers. "You saw glimpses of that today. They'll grow and mature as we move along and in another month or so they'll look totally different than today."
Freshman starter sorority grows
Andy Landers' penchant for putting freshmen into the Lady Bulldogs' starting five has continued this season. In the first six games, three freshmen secured starting spots for Georgia.
Against Rutgers, Shacobia Barbee became the 70th freshman to start for Georgia during Landers' 34 seasons in Athens...and the 22nd to get the nod for her collegiate debut.
Against S.C. State, Merritt Hempe joined her classmate to become the 71st freshman on that ledger.
Against St. Bonaventure, Tiaria Griffin became the 72nd first-year player to start under Landers. Nine current Lady Bulldogs started as freshmen - Anne Marie Armstrong, Barbee, Krista Donald, Erika Ford, Griffin, Jasmine Hassell, Hempe, Jasmine James and Khaalidah Miller.
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